With bagels boiling and customers chowing, Feldman's Bagels in Burlington is off to a great start after opening 7 weeks ago.
Reporter Gina Bullard: How's business going?
Roy Feldman: Really well, really well.
Owner Roy Feldman opened this shop with his daughter, Maddy. He says he first introduced New York-style bagels to Burlington in 1979 with the Burlington Bagel Bakery, and has opened or helped open more than a dozen shops since.
"I wasn't looking for a space for the bakery when this came along," Feldman said.
But he saw something in the location-- Pine Street. The former industrial part of Burlington is seeing a revitalization.
"I thought this is the a.m. or morning side of the street leading into Burlington, ample parking and good signage. I thought this is going to make sense," Feldman said.
Feldman's Bagels is just one of the recent success stories along this formerly scruffy street in the Queen City, with construction just about everywhere you look.
"Pine Street has emerged organically and that's part of what Pine Street is," said Peter Owens of Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office.
Owens says there's a lot in the works to make this a mixed-use urban street. Lake Champlain Chocolates is expanding. The space that used to house the now-closed Fresh Market will become ArtsRiot, a space where music and art will come together.
Gina Bullard: What are the challenges with Pine Street growing so fast?
Peter Owens: All the entrepreneurial activity is great, but along with that increase-- traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists. It's not safe out here; we need to make safety improvements right now so people can cross back and forth safely.
Businesses like Dealer.com are constantly hiring and parking is an issue.
Gina Bullard: There's a serious lack of parking on Pine Street. How is that going to be addressed?
Peter Owens: Parking is something we need to take a much closer look at... This is where our biggest job creation is happening right now.
The proposed Champlain Parkway, which will run along part of Pine Street, is seeking Act 250 approval. The roadway in the South End would link Interstate 89 and Route 7 to downtown Burlington without having to cut through residential neighborhoods. The road-- part of the reason Feldman's Bagels picked Pine Street.
"I'm now a testimony to the fact that it can offer an opportunity for people to succeed in retail business," Feldman said.
And Feldman's Bagels hopes all of these changes will only help the whole picture.
There will be a public meeting June 26 with a group from California to talk about how to make Pine Street more sustainable. That meeting is 7-9 p.m. at VEIC, 128 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 401. For more information -- www.burlingtonvt.gov/cedo/
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