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Several Local Businesses Closing Up Shop

Over the next couple of months, three local businesses will be closing their doors.

On Saturday, February 16th, Polka Dots will be closing their store at 246 Bridge Street. The shop, a women's clothing boutique, opened nearly two and a half years ago but has recently found business slow.

Originally, (owner Susan) Randels said that the store was doing well, but that the momentum could not keep up.

"The things that sold in Paoli didn't sell in Phoenixville," she said, adding that some customers thought that the store was too expensive or the sizing did not go high enough (size 12 being the highest size sold). "We tried everything."

Randels also said that parking was an issue for many of her customers who could either not find spaces or did not feel safe parking behind the store.

Polka Dots remains open until the 16th, with hours on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is 610-935-5914. Clothing and shoes are being sold at significant discounts.


On Sunday, February 24, local landmark the Vale Rio Diner will also be closing, although it is unclear if it will be relocated or not. The diner, which has been open for 60 years, will have most of its structure moved temporarily while the owners work with the borough to see if a new location can be found.

Closing a week later, on Sunday, March 2nd, will be the Vale Rio's neighbor, the Fountain Inn.

Replacing these two will be a Walgreen's Pharmacy, which presumably will take up the land vacated by the Vale Rio, and a Starbucks, which will move into the building currently occupied by the Fountain Inn. The plan is to leave the historical structure largely in tact.


The Phoenix - Vale Rio and Fountain Inn
The Phoenix - Polka Dots


Anonymous said…
Oh no....a Walgreens and a Starbucks! How disappointing. I'm really upset by this news. What's going on with all these drug stores on 23? Is it true that the construction at the corner of 23 and 113 (opposite Taco Bell/KFC and Rite Aid) is also going to be a drug store? What are we all on drugs?!
It was so nice to live in a town without a Starbucks.
Mike2131 said…
I'm excited about the Starbucks! The closest one right now is, where, Route 100 in Exton? Radnor? It's about time Phoenixville gets one. That whole intersection is ugly anyway. I'm not the biggest fan of drugstores, but at least these two businesses should spruce up the area and make it look less like a slum. I support this news and definitely will be checking out the Starbucks.
Mike2131 said…
I enjoyed the Vale Rio the few times I was there. It had a nostalgic feel to it. But I guess Nudy's coming to town took away a lot of business. Hate to see it go, but it may be for the best.

These are two great things for Phoenixville!
Anonymous said…
Same as mike2131, I am very excited that Starbucks is coming to our little town!
Anonymous said…
Yay for Starbucks! Although there is an honest to goodness Starbucks at the Phila. Premium Outlets.

As for the Vale Rio... I know it has its devotees, but I for one am not sad to see it go.
Jeff Senley said…
With the Gateway Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Giant, and K-Mart within a 2-mile radius of where Walgreens is proposed, I question the utility and necessity of yet another pharmacy / discount store. One of the businesses will likely not survive; then our net development gain will be naught and we'll have another empty building.

I know people may be excited about Starbucks; while I am not a personal fan, I understand and recognize its popularity.

It could go somewhere else.
Anonymous said…
I hope Starbucks really does restore and use the original building that is now Fountain Inn...but somehow it always seems that the old structures are lost either cause they find some engineering fault in it or its too expensive to save.
The Vale Rio is an icon of old Phoenixville--restored and relocated and given some care and attention it could be wonderful. If only someone would take it on that could join up with the farmers markets/CSA's/slow food movement etc. like the Farmers Diner in Quechee, VT. I can dream, can't I?
Anonymous said…
I wonder if Starbucks will still be opening? They have announced cancelling most expansion plans in the US to concentrate on their overseas business.

Also, I can't imagine how the traffic can be handled at that intersection as it exists now. I heard the entrance will be off W. Bridge. As a frequent traveler of that street, traffic coming into town is often backed up to the Prima. When this happens, anyone making a left turn into the parking lot, causes a traffic flow nightmare. Making a "quick" stop during rush hour(s) will be difficult.
Anonymous said…
this could be a good change for an otherwise hideous intersection. i hope they do a good job with the rehab of the Fountain and improve the streetscape. I won't shed a tear for either place the way, we are all on drugs and there will be a lot more old people who need drugs for ever more.
Anonymous said…
The Vale Rio has something that Walgreens and Starbucks will never have...uniqueness and REAL people. If you want to get a true taste of the folks of Phoenixville (and I'm not talking yuppies that everyone is so hot to lure into town), go and sit at the counter and order breakfast. Watch how people in a small town greet each other and listen to the conversations. Better do it quick though. We need a new Starbucks for the yuppies.
Anonymous said…
I'm excited that we're getting a Starbucks in town, but the location is horrible. Traffic is terrible at the intersection already and if this Starbucks is as frequented as most others, it will only get worse. The Walgreens going in is an absolute waste. Granted the food at the Val isn't the greatest, but do we really need another drugstore? I'd rather the Val stayed if that's all they're going to do with the space. Why not put a Trader Joe's in that spot?
Mike2131 said…
What's with all the Trader Joe's requests? There's one up the road in Wayne. Plus the Produce Junction always has good deals going on.

I hope once Rite Aid moves across the street on Nutt road, a good chain restaurant opens on their current lot, like a Chilis. Chain restaurant and Starbucks ..... Phoenixville will then be on it's way!
Anonymous said…
Produce Junction? Is that the place where you find worms inside your food?
RMorin said…

why the big attraction to chains? i would much rather see unique, locally owned businesses than chains.
Mike2131 said…
In my opinion, chains attract more people. The chains in Limerick (Outback, Texas Roadhouse, etc.) seem to be doing very well and are almost always busy. The intersection at 113 / 23 has good traffic levels. I could see a chain being successful there. But I don't think that really fits into what Phoenixville is trying to accomplish.
Tom said…
Don't mind the Starbucks coming in...there aren't too many of them outside of the Outlet Mall up in Sanatoga and the U-Prov Target. I'll still go to Steel City though more often than not.

The last thing the area needs is another $#!$@ing drug store...there's only how many Rite Aid's, Walgreens, and CVS' in the region?
Anonymous said…
I am SO UPSET by all of this! I'm truly HEARTBROKEN!!!

That DINER was one of the main things that attracted us to this little town about two years ago! There are fewer and fewer of them & the Americana they imply.

I also am wary of Starbuck's being in that historical building. It needs to be PRESERVED! They'll just find a way to burn it down ("accidentally," I would imagine) so they can build a newer building there. We are losing our identity as a town, here!

By-the-way, I HATE HATE HATE Starbuck's coffee (We call it "TAR-SUCKS") and the SNOBBY atmosphere it maintains.

I'd rather have a Panera Bread! They have coffee AND food AND a bakery (a pretty darned good one, for a chain). They need to put Panera into the parking lot by Giant, where the Rite Aid is leaving from! It'll replace the Quizno's that left us so suddenly (could it have been because the TERRIBLE management? I've never been to a bad Quizno's until we moved here).

The coffee is getting worse & worse wherever you go lately! The only truly decent coffee I've had in town was at the diner & (more recently) at the Book End Cafe (formerly the Turn-Around Cafe).

This was a pretty cute town only two years ago. I even wanted to ask my fiance' if we could look into buying a more permanent home here. Not any more!

High-rises, parking garages, snobby yuppie stores and drug-dealers (read: drug stores) closing down all of the things that make this towe so nice, while the Gay Street bridge is about to collapse and kill someone ANY DAY NOW & they refuse to speed things up to fix it!

Someone's priorities are out-of-wack!

Meanwhile, there is almost no decent public transportation, there are no sidewalks to walk on along most of Rt.113/Kimberton Road, there are gaping potholes all around town that no one bothers to fix, there is an abandoned train track that needs to be turned into a "rails-to-trails" fitness trail (whenever someone gets around to discussing it), and a town fountain in the middle of the park that looks as if it NEVER worked/was finished! Right next to it is a BEAUTIFUL old bell that has been turned UPSIDE DOWN and is now being used as a PLANTER!

Speaking of PLANTERS- the ones on the grassy strips in the middle of the road (Rt.23 across from 7-11 and another by the Good Year/Bridge Street) are usually full of DEAD, BROWN plants that people don't keep up with! It's an EYESORE!

This town seems to be full of people with big dreams and little energy! It would appear that the town is "all talk & no action!"

Also, the old building on Bridge Street that was being restored had NO FRONT DOOR & NO PLASTIC OR BOARDS on it for OVER A MONTH when they were working on it! ANYONE could have strolled on in there & vandalized the place! How RECKLESS & IRRESPONSIBLE!

No wonder everyone in this town is on so many drugs that we need NINE drugstores! It's so depressing to live here that no one can survive without all of the drugs!

What a shame & a WASTE!

It saddens me to think of how beautiful this place must have been & how nice it could become again if people cared more about COMMUNITY & less about DRUGS, MONEY, AND STARBUCK'S!!!
RMorin said…

wow, you are really a glass half-empty kind of person!

the rails-to-trails is a great idea. is there a group that is currently working on that idea?
Anonymous said…
I wonder if a community meeting should be called? Seems there are some passionate opinions about this.
Anonymous said…
Acme, Giant, Eckerd's, Gateway, Genuardi's - all of these places are local pharmacies. Why in the world did they allow another one to be set up? No, I'm not sad to see the Vale Rio go, let's face it, the food was mediocre but at least they could have put in something that actually met a community need.

I am opposed to chain restaurants in Phoenixville, if I wanted that I would live in King of Prussia or Limerick. They are bland and add nothing to the character of our town.
Anonymous said…
"Why in the world did they allow another one to be set up?"
When you say "they" I assume you mean the local Borough Government? Borough government is guided by it's zoning laws. Those laws permit certain uses of property in certain areas, including commercial uses along Nutt Road. "They" cannot restrict what is built in this case. When any pharmacies are permitted in a zone, all pharmacies are permitted in that zone. There is NO zoning anywhere that says 5 or 6 or 7 or even 10 pharmacies are all that are allowed in a zone. That would be discriminatory to property owners who wish to utilize their properties for legal/permitted uses. There is only so much government can control. If it's too restrictive, it can be challenged in court, cost a lot of money to defend and then create a court mandated change when the Borough loses it's case, as it surely would. How much restrictions on the use of your own property would you tolerate? I'll miss the diner too but the Borough really can't do anything about it as long as the proposed use follows zoning laws, and it does.
Anonymous said…
tru24 and others-

I am not a huge an of chains either but I have seen Starbucks do some very ingenious adaptive reuses of old buildings. So lets not bash then until we see the results. That is a bad corner but I have to believe that a complete revamping of that area brought on by these renovations may improve things. Money is needed to make that happen and that is what is coming in.

I am sorry to see the Vale Rio go but honestly calling the food medicore is an overstatement. It has great atmosphere but I'd rather eat at Nudy's anyday. Food and service there are top notch too bad its only open until 2pm.

I also must give a shout out to the Coffee at Artisan's Cafe. I've never had a bad cup from there.

Phoenixville has a lot going for it and I would challenge you to find another town with reasonable housing prices and potential like there is here.
RMorin said…
It's called the generification of America folks. This is fueled by the many people who actually like to have chains in their town. You know so that every town has all the exact same stores and looks exactly the same.

I love that Phoenixville has been able to maintain its unique identity for this long. As more chains move in that identity will slowly fade away. Hopefully Bridge St. will never become filled with chains too.
Anonymous said…
I was originally sad the Valerio was leaving, now I say good riddance. I've been there twice this past month. Both times the waiter was rude. The 2nd time I even waited 1/2 hour for service, no one even came by to even drop a menu. I understand that employees are frustrated because they are losing their jobs but they should not take out there frustration on innocent customers.
Anonymous said…
Monorail!! ...

Monorail!! ...

Anonymous said…
You people are crowing about Starfux and their nasty burnt-tasting coffee coming to Phoenixville, home of Steel City Coffeehouse and Artisan's Cafe, and with Kimberton Whole Foods serving locally roasted Kimberton Roasting Company coffee just three miles away? With their cardboard flavored industrial process "baked goods", when you could have freshly made cookies, pastries and macaroons? Have I just entered the twilight zone?
Anonymous said…
Steel City and its grungy little high school crowd can't hold a flame to Starbucks and what it can do for our property values. I wish they would REPLACE Steel City. I want good, consistent coffee ... not some place that can't even take debit cards. It's 2008 ... keep up with the times!
Anonymous said…
I say bring the Starbucks and the Walgreens. It's more options and more competition. Walgreens has some great sales. We always have to drive so far to enjoy some downtime at Starbucks. I like to see the progress in Phoenixville. It's growing and progressing well. The hospital project is exciting to see. The new Rite Aid replaces the crappy one by Genuardi's and opens another spot for something else in the old Eckerd store. Why can't we have an Olive Garden? The nearest ones are so far away. I'm a fan of chain restaurants. When people come to visit, we have to drive out of Phoenixville to find a decent place they like to eat that they recognize. Starbucks has great quality stuff rivaling Dunkin' in some ways and will probably have people you can actually understand who are nice to you. I agree that the intersection should be redesigned and set up to accomodate the increase in traffic flow and patterns ...but I say that these 2 new stores should pay for that! Make them responsible. In the end this will help boost business everywhere. At least I know what the chains have to offer rather than risking a local hole in the wall place.
Anonymous said…
Does anyone get what they are talking about with the Closing of Polka Dots and the focus of Barry Cassidy? People keep on sending there opinion in the paper without really telling any story of what has happened. I don't get the shame on you stuff about women's sizes in Phoenixville. Judging from the paper it was the owner of Polka Dots that stated she didn't have any bigger sizes not Cassidy? I just don't get it? Who said what? The paper should state what happened not these goofy shame on you stuff. The store didn't work just move on already.
Anonymous said…
Steel City is NOT an option for me. Unless you come in on a Tuesday morning (or some other off-hour time) there seems to always be some sort of band there charging a $15 cover fee. Not exactly my idea of a "nice little coffee shop."

I agree that the Artisan's Cafe looks like an interesting place, but the parking SUCKS in that area of town, and I, frankly, have no reason to go over that way now that my bank has decided to leave the area (thanks a lot for leaving us with six-mile drive, Sovereign).

As far as the "mediocre" food at the Vale Rio, I have found that the string of awful-tasting similarities in their food & drink can be largely traced to their neglecting to use a water filter! The faintly foul after-taste is the same as the smell I get from the water here at home (only blocks away from there), which I have kept from ruining my food & drink by something so simple as a BRITA!

As far as the Rails-to-Trails, I have written to Andy Dinniman & several others about making that abandoned old track (the one that crosses over Mowhere Road, behind the Giant, over Nutt Road, between Kimberton Road & Bridge Street & crossing over Pothouse before disappearing into the woods) into a rails-to-trails, eventually connecting it with the trails in East Whitland, but they keep referring me to other people who say that they'll meet to talk about it & they never do. I don't know where to go with the idea now, as everyone seems to not have any time for it. I guess it'll wait 12 years until they're done with the Gay Street Bridge.

The traffic in the area of Rt. 23/Bridge Street affected by the diner/Walgreens has too much traffic already! It's a NIGHTMARE during rush hour I am SO SCARED when we have to stop for the light for Bridge Street on Rt. 23 when coming from Valley Forge, as there is a wall right there on the curve & no one can see you stopped until they almost rear-end you! I don't want to be part of an Alero Sandwich!

Yes, MONORAIL!!! And maybe a few extra buses, to boot (like one to EXTON down Rt. 113)! Light rail is a very nice option for a town like ours, as it is cheaper & easier to maintain than a standard-gauge railroad, but would not change the town's personality, as it obviously was a rail-road dependent town (as witnessed by its former stations- now being used as restaurants).

I like chain restaurants as much as the next guy, but keep them in KOP, Plymouth Meeting, Trooper & Exton! They destroy the very character of a little town like ours & make it like every other town out there!
Anonymous said…
Those bigger businesses bring COMPETITION. That's what Phoenixville needs more of ... and less laziness (like what happened/happens at Valerio and Moon Saloon).

What about a wine bar for this town? Attract higher-class folks (like Manayunk did) and you'll attract higher-class dollars.
Anonymous said…
You're asking for prices and property taxes to go up then, as well.

Are you SURE that's what you want?
JW said…
Not for nothing, but with regards to a chain restaurant going in where the Rite Aid currently is, I don't really see the arguments against it. Sure, it would be nice to have a local restaurateur fill that spot, but how many new restaurants can fill a space of that size and be successful. As to our town losing its charm, it would be joining a shopping complex that has a McDonalds, a Giant, a K-mart and a Sears. I whole-heartedly agree that the historical district should remain a chain-store free as possible, but if an Olive Garden or something of that ilk were to replace Rite Aid, it certainly would not break my heart.
Anonymous said…
I GREE that it would be FINE to put a chain restaurant in the current Rite Aid building. That was never a concern of mine, and I hope that no one misunderstood that as being what I'd meant.

I was simply saying that I don't want the chains building up the area east of the train bridge/overpass by the car wash on Nutt Road, with the only POSSIBLE exception being something small like a video store going into the new strip mall by the Acme.

I have no absolutely problem with chain restaurants, but I DO have a problem with a town destroying its past to genericize its future.
Anonymous said…

I'd meant to type "I AGREE..."

This even after I used the "preview" button!

I must be tired!
Mike2131 said…
Speaking of that strip mall over by the Acme, what else is going into those stores? I see the Hair Cuttery is either open or close to it. And that dry cleaner still is giving me a 30% discount. Any word on what else is coming? Here's to hoping one is a Coldstone Ice Cream shop! Probably won't happen, but one can hope.
Anonymous said…
tru24rm: If takes go up at the cost of driving out some of the nasty businesses and lowlifes here, bring it on.

We should be ashamed, as a whole, that progress is so slow to happen here. For example, driving into town from 422, coming down the hill, you see "SLOW" painted on the bridge. How embarrassing that this has been there for 6-7 years (or more?) and no one has done anything about it. Get off your duffs people, and do something. What a waste of taxpayer dollars. CLEAN THIS TOWN UP, PRONTO!!!!
Anonymous said…
If the town cared enough to post a more permanent sign telling drivers to "SLOW DOWN," and/or that there was a "Dangerous Underpass Ahead" we might not have people "vandalizing" the bridge to tell us these things.

If you read the OTHER side of that bridge, you will see "Danger" and then "RIP" and someone's name, with a date. It may occur to you that someone might have actually DIED there!

I, also, am sick over seeing the sign- but not as sick as I am od the BUS that SPEEDS and makes a wide sweeping turn under the bridge & as it heads up the hill!

On the whole, I am glad that SOMEONE cares enough to warn non-local drivers of the impending danger! The town obviously doesn't care enough!

Overall, it's nicer than seeing one of the more familiar four-letter words adorning the bridge (which one undoubtedly would, if the current "graffiti" were removed).

Also, I think that it's pretty rude to call your neighbors "low-lifes," but that's just me!
Anonymous said…
I for one am glad to see the Vale Rio go. What a dirty, nasty place. I can never understand its appeal. Look at the floors and in their vents under the counters. That stuff is blowing into your food people!
Anonymous said…
tru: What kind of rose-colored glasses world are you living in? Lowlifes -- yes -- I agree with the person who said that. This town is FULL of lowlifes. I say reassess taxes and raise them so that people have to foreclose (if they own) and if they don't, drive out some of the renters by raising prices. And, I'm not kidding, cities do it all over the country to drive people out.

And you like the grafitti slow down sign? You're unreal.
Anonymous said…
The LOWEST of the "low-lifes" are those who insult a class of people they DON'T EVEN KNOW and who AREN'T doing anything to harm them, just because they don't like they way they look/dress and their income level.

Not ALL renters are "lowlifes!" Some of us who have PLENTY OF MONEY rent because we are deciding whether or not we LIKE an area before we commit to buying a home there.

We, for example, originally had decided to move farther west to set up our homestead. This town was a nice mid-point during the transition, allowing us to keep our current jobs while searching for new ones in the area we were looking at (Carlisle/New Cumberland). We wound up liking Phoenixville so much that we've considered staying, but that is slowly changing.

The vibrant artisic community is counter-balanced by a prevailing attitude that anyone without inherent artistic talent isn't worth a rat's tush!

Also, the artists are so busy creating their various "art" forms that they don't bother paying attention to the neighborhood's deterioration and never bother attending public meetings (politics get in the way of their "arts"). The town, inevitably, has gone downhill.

I hope that there are enough sculpters here in town to make something beautiful out of the remains, but I doubt that they will have enough time left after their next drumming circle.

By-the-way (lest you think that I have something against the arts or the artists), we BOTH are poets have sung in several choirs, and met while marching with a drum & bugle corps. I have also been in a handbell choir, and my sweetheart has composed some organ/brass arrangements that have been used as wedding preludes and processionals.

I'm sorry that you are against WE THE RENTERS! I'm sorry that systems analysts, networking engineers, pharmacy technicians, and EMTs like us are "low-lifes" in your little bubble!

I just wish that made it so that our tax money was unavailable to you & your snobby little town, as we will ABSOLUTELY NOT be buying a home here!

"Good luck moving up, 'cause I'M MOVING OUT!" -Billy Joel
Anonymous said…
I love Steel City-- great coffee and cool atmosphere.
Anonymous said…
Interesting that you deduced that I was talking about renters. I never said renters were low-lifes. Maybe you're projecting some of your own inadequacies?
Anonymous said…
Who the hell wants a chain restaurant in town?

Starbucks is garbage, go to Artisan's or Steel City.

Go to the farmer's market.

Who the hell would go somewhere to visit and go to an Olive Garden? Mmm, frozen food reheated. Go to Black Lab, go to Liki, go to Los Mariaches.
Anonymous said…
I will never order out at Liki again. They tell me it'll be 30 minutes. Thinking it would take longer, I get there about 10 minutes later than what they say. I had to wait another 45 minutes to get my food. All I ordered were 3 rolls!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said...
Interesting that you deduced that I was talking about renters. I never said renters were low-lifes. Maybe you're projecting some of your own inadequacies?

2/27/08 12:57 AM

MY Comment:
See this post, made by ***YOU***, above:

Anonymous said...
tru: What kind of rose-colored glasses world are you living in? Lowlifes -- yes -- I agree with the person who said that. This town is FULL of lowlifes. I say reassess taxes and raise them so that people have to foreclose (if they own) and if they don't, drive out some of the ****RENTERS**** by raising prices. And, I'm not kidding, cities do it all over the country to drive people out.

And you like the grafitti slow down sign? You're unreal.
Anonymous said…
Tru: I agree with the poster who said that. Renters don't pay property taxes, so they don't help push the local economy like buyers. Facts are facts. And, he/she is right -- many renters in Phoenixville are low-lifes. What he/she failed to say was that so are some home owners. What I do agree with the person though is that homeowners are much more important to a thriving local economy.
Anonymous said…
I have not lived in the area for many, many years. The comments are ALL probably somewhat true! It does bother me to see historic structures torn down or runied- Starbucks- way to go Phoenixville- can't you come up with something unique and local! Walgreens- ugly, ugly buildings- all look alike (they don't have to pay architecs to design something for the location!) and they force out any local competiion. The diner should remain, some place, salvage the building, declare it an "local treasure" and find a someone to operate a good, home style, friendly resturant! I do believe it was one of the "Pennsylvania Diners" featured on PBS several years ago. Wake up Phoenixville- save your selves from being a rubber stamp community.
Anonymous said…
I agree with the last poster -- there's probably truth in a lot of these posts.

What I see is the biggest problem is that Phoenixille needs a major facelift. If that means looking rubber stamped, I guess that's just part of it.
Anonymous said…
I'm curious to know how many of you who have such strong opinions about what Phoenixville needs are actually doing something to contribute to this town of ours? Let's use this forum in a constructive manner rather than to engage in fruitless arguments.
Anonymous said…
I think Starbuck's would have been a great addition to the corner of Bridge and 23. It is an ugly intersection. Unfortunately, they have bowed out. I don't miss the diner. I didn't grow up here, so no warm, fuzzy feelings about that. It was dirty, and mediocre at best. Not in favor of another pharmacy on 23, but can't fight city hall, I guess. I do love the Artisan Cafe downtown. Cool music, comfortable seating, but air conditioning seems to be lacking. Hope the owner continues to do well.

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