Why Would You Locate a Business Inside Main Street Commons?

It’s true that parking kiosks are confusing and horrible, but people should also consider that maybe the inside of Main Street Commons is just a sucky location for a business. The key advantage to locating on Main Street in Bethlehem is the foot traffic. People like strolling around the nice downtown and window shopping. They don’t want to go inside the mini-mall, that’s a buzzkill. Unless your business is about selling fried food to drunk people exiting the Brewworks, you want your storefront to be visible from the street.


  1. Excellent question. Probably someone who thinks that the world requires an entire store dedicated to pepper spray. How that place remains in business is beyond me.

  2. So let’s recap – the merchants were fine until the Parking Authority inserted itself in the mix. Now business is not fine.

    Yep it’s the location. Definitely. It’s not the parking change, nosirree. It’s those stupid merchants, betting their very lives on bad locations. Thank god for bureaucrats, they did the right thing in ruining businesses, it was for the business owner’s own good.

    Please please please read the whole fucking article before posting! The parking changes are what’s impacting business, not the location. Your utopian vision of parking bureaucrats perfect just got shot to hell and back.

  3. I read the article. Their claim isn’t persuasive. Look nobody wants to blame themselves for stupid choices, but in fact businesses make stupid choices all the time. That’s why so many retail businesses go out of business. There’s a lot of churn because there are a lot of people who invest badly, have bad ideas, etc.

    As to my views on parking, what is the point I’m always making? Take the politics out of it and let the robots set the prices. Nowhere have I advocated letting humans set the parking prices, nor have I called for parking kiosks ever. I hate those things. Individual electronic meters are always the way to go.

    • I’m gonna differ with you there. Aardvark shoe store inside has been successful for years. It’s been successful for like 15 years. Now the stores are failing? Doesn’t seem right.

      • Jon Geeting says:

        The article doesn’t mention Aardvark, but I think that’s a special case. They organize runs and have a really loyal customer base. If people know you’re there and you have the kind of business model based on loyal repeat customers, you could do ok in there. Same with Keystone Homebrew. They turn their customers into homebrewing hobbyists, they’re present at events giving away free beer, so they have a lot of repeat customers. The other businesses mentioned in the article really need more foot traffic. The Bone Appetit pet treats bakery would definitely make a lot more money if they had a regular storefront. The pepper spray business – is anyone surprised they’re not doing well? Who is getting mugged so much they need to refill their pepper spray all the time?

      • Jon Geeting says:

        Btw, I’m also not disagreeing with the people who dislike those machines. I’m sure that they’re very confusing for old people. I would never have advised anyone to go with the kiosks.

        • At the end of the day, the only thing that matters to a retailer is the amount of cash in the till. Nothing else.

          What they’re saying is that since the change, they have less cash in the till at the end of the day.

          Bureaucrats need to get out of the way and stop being an impediment to these retailers. Like you, they won’t admit they’re wrong no matter how many people they destroy. And you sit and do nothing except blame them? Pathetic.

          Oh and Jon? Humans program the robots. They do what humans tell them to. Please stop with the “robots should do it” bullshit. That’s just stupid.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            Human politicians would choose the occupancy rate, not the price. Somewhere between 80-90%. The electronic meters Bethlehem has now are technologically capable of that kind of variable pricing. The big effect would be to drop the price of parking for these retailers for most of the day.

          • And your stance that it was the merchant’s own fault that they are failing and bureaucrats are infallible?

  4. Don’t rip on the Main Street Commons. It would be better to have a storefront on Main Street, but rents are probably cheaper inside the Commons. Plenty of businesses that have thrived there.

    I don’t really think the parking kiosks are terribly difficult to use. I’m sure some people (especially senior citizens) reacted the exact same way to the first ATMs. I’m glad the banking industry didn’t overreact and tear out all the ATMs after a few complaints that first year.

    That parking lot is always full, so apparently most people can figure it out. For those who don’t want to deal with it, there are two dozen parking spaces on the street next to the parking lot (on the bridge). They use the same meters that have been used by decades.

  5. you also have a parking deck about 3 blocks down the road if you wanted. I dont think parking is the issue. I also do not think the insides of the commons are the issue (although store fronts are always better).

    I think the real problem is main street is seeing the true slowdown of the economy and the effect of the 2% payroll tax reinstatement.

  6. Again, i am not completely buying the parking issues. The kiosks suck that is to be sure, but the area is always full and there is foot traffic to be sure running through the commons. It seems i am down there every day and i have not noticed a decrease in usage.

    Is the foot traffic buying things as much? I do not think they are. In my mind, it is more a function of the economy than it is parking.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      The whole thing might be bullshit. They might be complaining about nothing.

      • Or your shining beacons the bureaucrats could have made a mistake?

        Funny how you immediately think the guy with his very economic life on the line is full of shit and the bureaucrat who gets paid no matter how many businesses he destroys is infallible.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          No humans are infallible. That’s why I favor variable pricing and support making parking more convenient. I already said I don’t like kiosks. Business people aren’t infallible either. Bad businesses open and then close all the time. There’s a ton of churn in retail. People choose to sell stuff that turns out not to be popular. People pick the wrong locations. I know that you’re not stupid about business and that you know all of this. I don’t know why you’re playing dumb.

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