What's Wrong With a New Downtown Business?

It’s no secret that in the opinion of many Sioux Falls residents, the entertainment choices in this town are limited at best. This is particularly true if you’re a young adult…or young at heart like yours truly. Too many neighborhood bars feature karaoke, the couple of venues that offer live music have their genre limitations, and the locations that feature dance music seem to hire complete morons as DJ’s who offer absolutely nothing that isn’t tired and overplayed.
Our friends at the Chamber of Commerce love to point out that new bars and restaurants are opening every week. But with very few exceptions, these businesses are going after the same crowd – middle-aged clems with deep pockets. The majority of these joints are sterile chains that offer little variety in menus, drink specials, décor, and background music. You better be accompanied by great people, or you’re guaranteed to be bored within ten minutes.
The downtown area may not be populated by chain restaurants, but the ambience isn’t much better. The majority of the businesses designed to make money off the nighttime crowd are designed for city leaders who want to look cool and/or important. It’s pretty sad that the two best downtown establishments are an overcrowded dive bar and a dance club that caters to alternative lifestyles…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It’s not that there aren’t people who want to make a difference…people who want to bring a little variety to our vanilla city. These people are almost uniformly shown the door the minute they bring their schemes to city planners.
That’s the issue that’s currently plaguing Leslie Arnett and Tiffany Thomas are now facing. They want to take over the old Surf’s Up and Carolina Cafe locations and turn it into a multi-level facility that would be a combination coffee shop/bistro/dance club/live music facility.
Certainly we can’t have that, however. How would neighboring businesses deal with the morning-after? How could apartment dwellers deal with the noise?
Tough luck is what I have to say. If you decide to live downtown you don’t have the same rights to peace and quiet as somebody in the suburbs. If you’re business is located downtown you can’t expect the same environment as a business in the mall or a neighborhood strip mall. Noise and people wandering the streets is a sign of a thriving downtown. I don’t have many nights of fun these days, but one of the best nights in recent months was such a night where I spent an hour or so at five different downtown establishments.
As one might guess, however, it’s not just noise and trash that are leading some to oppose this project. Take the case of Tim Kant, no stranger to the Get Out of Town show. In Monday’s daily paper, his biggest complaint seems not to be real issues that this club may attract but the fact that this club may steal some of his business. He takes issue with the multiple formats, and the fact that the capacity of the joint is twice the size of his trendy cigar bar.
I hate to say it, but he’s an idiot. What business is it of his that these ladies want to try out a number of different ideas? And there’s also a great chance that if this business is successful it probably will actually result in more customers for him.
Don’t get the wrong idea, though. I’m not a mark for Ms. Arnett and Thomas. From what I’ve been told they seem to have watched a few too many episodes of “Sex and the City”. For example, their responses to the Zoning Commission earlier this year concerning live music was extremely vague and naïve. After saying no to a number of genres, they were finally asked just what kind of music would be featured. Somebody like Spooncat was the reply. Nothing against these Sioux Falls veterans, but they don’t have much trouble finding places to play.
But who really cares if their chances for success are not great? At least they’re willing to try something different, and they’re investing a lot of money to take that gamble. That’s no different than any other downtown business, and like the dozens of companies that have come and gone over the years there’s always somebody else waiting for that same spot. What does the city have to lose?


Anonymous said…
This is same dick weed that wouldn't let a church cut a tiny branch off his blvd. tree so they could move a house for expansion. he claimed cutting the branch off of the tree (which is over 100 yrs. old and in good health) would kill the tree. BS! It's all about image with that ape. Maybe he ought to see a plastic surgeon about botox.
Anonymous said…
hey dumb ass they were going to trim the trees from prairie ave to minnesota ave from the curb straight up. i don't even live in the neighborhood but it would look terrible if they did that.

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