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What Should Fill the Former Merra-Lee Stores?

New series asks Geneva residents what businesses they would like to see move into town.

The No. 1 story in our 2011 year-end countdown was the vacancies in . Among the most prominent of those is the at Third and State street.

There already has been some talk of future tenants and .

The city of Geneva's Economic Development Commission has proposed several ways to draw new business to downtown, including the use of a city sales tax to generate revenue for a revised and revitalized .

We all know that the Merra-Lee storefronts are beautiful locations with a lot of options—for one big store or many.

So Patch asks you, what would you like to see in the old Merra-Lee storefronts? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Meg March 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM
An APPLE store!!!!!! People would come from miles away!
Rob Plinske March 27, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I agree, let's lure Apple into coming to Geneva.
Gil Dizon March 27, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I think the Post Office would be a better venue for an Apple Store. I think Geneva would welcome an Apple Store!
stephanie bedee March 27, 2012 at 01:54 PM
While in general Apple would be great for Geneva, it seems more appropriately placed at Geneva Commons. In my opinion (for what it's worth), an Apple store downtown Geneva would be a significant step in its loss of identity as a historic distric with locally owned shops.
ann holt-harris March 27, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I would like a Whole Foods, Eileen Fisher, and/or Dick Blick but I am just dreaming!
Mike Bruno March 27, 2012 at 06:27 PM
The USPS is looking for a smaller, store-front facility. I would love for someone to flesh out the possibility of the USPS moving into the Pure Oil building (since Mr. Stanton has said he will not be renewing the Pure Gardener lease). Maybe a land swap, but Mr. Stanton says trying to work with the federal government is a nightmare. I don't doubt that. The current post office would make a great Apple store.
Mike Bruno March 27, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Grocery in town would be a wonderful thing, but with consumers demanding 12 varieties of peanut butter, it seems that they need McCormick Place sized buildings any more. Does anybody remember when Jewel Food Store was located in the Sav-Way building? You couldn't even fit the Jewel *employees* in that parking lot.
Sarah Karch March 27, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I like the idea of a Whole Foods or similar market in town.
stephanie bedee March 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Would LOVE market in town! Something that carried the top selling items vs 12 peanut butters, as you are right no abailable space would be big enough for that type of market.
Stacy March 30, 2012 at 04:42 PM
The Merra Lee Stores would make a GREAT Apple Store, 302 (although filled with a much looked forward to nightclub venue with live music) would have made a great American Eagle Outfitters (we actually saw this quite successfully in our old hometown of Lawrence, KS in our old movie theater). I LOVE our small local shops. However, I think we do need something to bring young families and teens back downtown. The Oil building is lovely as the Pure Gardener. I am so saddened that the rumor is that Stanton wil not be putting money into renovations and that the store will not be able to remain in its place. I believe that the citizens of Geneva would be willing to help restore this to a usable space in order to see it survive, but it has yet to become a viable option for us. The Pure Gardner is in its prime location and there are very few places where it would exude the charm it has right now. To me, that is the marriage of an ideal store and location. We still have an interesting open space next to the history center. During the many festivals we have downtown, this is ignored space. Picnic tables, a gazebo where a small band or orchestra could play several night a week in the summer and during festival time would be lovely. We've been asking for a little downtown park space for years. Although the space is small, panned well, it could add a lot to the downtown/hometown feel of Geneva.
Stacy March 30, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Lastly, we have seen a muddy, empty lot next to Bien Trucha for as long as I can remember. That space cries out for a parking lot, or a park. Something...ANYTHING. I'd love to see it developed, but right now it sits as an eyesore. Maybe the bank could go there.

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