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Who Should Replace Buzy Beez at 85 East Blithedale?

With the children's show store set to close June 29 after less than a year in business, what would you like to see open in the space at the edge of downtown?

Britton Barkoff, the owner of the children's shoe store at 85 East Blithedale Ave., has seen a slew of new faces since she posted the 
"Going Out of Business" signs in her windows earlier this month. 

"People come in and say, 'I always wanted to stop here but haven't been able to,' or 'I didn't even know you were here,'" Barkoff says. "But now it's too late. Where were you for the past 11 months?"

Barkoff, who lives in Tiburon, is set to close her shop June 29, a few days shy of a year since she opened it. The July 2011 arrival of Buzy Beez ended a more than two-year vacancy for the space at the edge of downtown and across the street from  and .

Barkoff, who spent six years at Baby & Kids Co. downtown prior to opening Buzy Beez, said 85 East Blithedale is a tough location because it's slightly beyond the downtown walking area.

"It's definitely off the beaten path," she says. "We just lacked foot traffic here."

That begs the question: What would you like to see move into the space at 85 East Blithedale? What would get you to walk, ride or drive to that edge of downtown? Let us know in the Comments section!

Ralston White June 19, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I've felt recently that there aren't enough places in town to buy women's clothing, so how about that?
Mill Valley Neighbor June 19, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I think a low income housing project or a subway are perfect for this location.
wendy moskow June 19, 2012 at 03:26 PM
A wine bar!!!!
Lorin Schneider June 19, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It's so sad that landlords can't HELP their tenants instead of put them out of business because of their greed. Read my article in the Mill Valley Herald. Come on Mill Valley. Help out your Mill Valley small businesses so that they can make a living and not go out of business. It's happening in many places. This business had SO MUCH promise to deliver a terrific product to the families in Mill Valley and beyond, all she needed was a little support from a landlord. THERE !!!! I got it out !
Marin County June 19, 2012 at 03:50 PM
'I didn't even know you were here,'" Barkoff says.....no they did, but probably bought their kids shoes on amazon, saw they did a living social deal, probably not a smart idea. I'm guessing either a Salon or an over priced boutique will go in there.
Heather June 19, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Anything but another hair or nail salon!
Oscar Rivers June 19, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Why is it the landlords's fault? The tenant agreed to pay the rent based on their business forecasts. If the tenant is wrong, why would the landlord be expected to bail them out? The landlord has a business to run, too. I seriously doubt the landlord's creditors will cut him any slack for being a "good guy."
MV Resident June 19, 2012 at 06:16 PM
An inexpensive sandwich place would be great.
Daniel Weaver June 19, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Burma Superstar!
Lorin Schneider June 19, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Oscar, there are MANY landlords in Mill Valley who work with their tenants because there is a mutual respect to make sure the businesses work and that the space keeps being utilized...This particular space can't keep anything in it....and that is the landlord's fault for not working with tenants. There are other properties where landlords work with their tenants and they have been in those spaces for YEARS. Check around and you'll see.
Oscar Rivers June 19, 2012 at 10:29 PM
I'm sure there are landlords who will work with their tenants. I'm not suggesting that there aren't, or that the practice is good or bad. I'm simply saying that you can't fault the landlord for a tenant's business failing. If the lease didn't make sense, the tenant shouldn't have signed. Once they sign, they're obligated. The landlord can make a business decision to renegotiate a lease, or not, but it's their call. View the converse situation - if a tenant's business is highly successful, would it be ok for the landlord to ignore the lease and ask for more money?
Scott June 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM
If another business can attract more customers and therefore better serve the community's needs, we shouldn't get the benefit of that business just so someone else can continue to provide us with a less desirable business? And why should landlords sacrifice? They're businesspeople too. Their business should suffer to support another business? If the landlord determines it's not in their best interest to "work with" (read: subsidize) another business that's their decision. If it's a bad one, they'll lose because the space will remain empty for prolong periods and they'll have to adjust their pricing. Lorin, you're trying to make an argument that one businessperson is more deserving than another. I don't see how that makes sense or why we should care for one over another.
MV Resident June 19, 2012 at 11:29 PM
This is a cute store and concept - so it's a shame to see it not work out. However, the owner of Buzy Bee clearly says that they are going out of business due to the lack of patronage and the location - not "being put out of business by the landlord" as you assert above. Owners of commercial real estate are running a business and have expenses to pay, property taxes, mortgage interest etc. You seem to imply that owners of property are evil (or "greedy") - and I'm sickened by how often I see that misguided notion permeate discussions here and in the national discourse. After the tenant, nobody wants to see a business survive more than a landlord - now they get no rent! This is a loss for the landlord as well as the tenant. Again, it's really too bad this business didn't survive, but finger-pointing at the landlord for a tenant's business failure - particulalry after just 11 months! - feels about as wrong as me personally blaming you for not patronizing the store enough to drag them into the black.
RD June 20, 2012 at 02:47 AM
that made me smile! Good one!
Lorin Schneider June 20, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Ok you can all have, or we can all have, our opinions. It's just a very sad situation that no business can make it in that space and they have all been great businesses. From Accents, to Shoe Envy, to the tutoring service and now Buzy Beez. So tell me....if these businesses were next to Peets would they do better for even double the price in rent ? What is the real answer here folks. I think it's sad all over town that people start great little businesses and they aren't supported. What happened to the little guy in all of this ? I wasn't saying cut the rent, just help out your tenants, notice I said tenants, with an s, because it is happening in other places too. You just aren't aware of it. ;-)
Lorin Schneider June 20, 2012 at 03:40 PM
One last comment....you all sound like landlords. ;-))) Just kidding...come on smile.
Jim Welte June 20, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Hey all - thanks for the insights on this. Although businesses come and go all the time, this space is interesting in particular because of the frequent historical turnover and long vacancy prior to Buzy Beez. There's no easy answer, it seems.
dana horner June 21, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Yes, Burma Superstar!!


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