Joe's Crab Shack opening on 125th Street yesterday. The PR company also mentioned that the offer of 1 year's worth of free crab for the first 100 in line was extend to the first 300. The following 200 in line thereafter received certificates for free crab steam pots. So what does all this commercial success mean for the future of 125th Street?
A few folks mentioned their dislike for having such a mainstream chain on the boulevard but city planners have always wanted 125th Street to be commercial. Smaller boutique businesses on the side boulevards or brownstone streets will benefit from the foot traffic and are more appropriate for those sections of Harlem.
On the other side of the conversation, some see that the planned Whole Foods on 125th Street might be too expensive for the neighborhood. Why not Trader Joe's? From what we can see, Trader Joe's is kind of conservative when it comes to opening in new neighborhoods. It seems that they wait for Whole Foods to take the lead. Harlem right now is a diverse economy so there will be room for all types of businesses in the future.
Until now most of the chains showing up on Harlem's commercial main street have been geared towards the lower range but the arrival of mid range business might eventually attract a Home Depot or eventually an Apple Store. Folks who want the high end retailers to suddenly show up should remember that those businesses are more reserve when selecting new neighborhoods and that 125th Street success will happen in increments.