The Chronicle reports on the City of Berkeley's plans to clean up Telegraph Ave. The finger is pointed at the street urchins and derelicts who inhabit the street, but, as someone who lived a block away 16 years ago, I can say they've always been there.
All the patrols, facade improvement grants, and public cleaning crews won't address two fundamental factors. One is acknowledged -- internet retail is gutting the media retail that once thrived along Telegraph (books and music particularly).
But Telegraph is also the street that serves university students, and the demographic of those students is changing. The stores that are doing well are those that appeal to the increasing Asian and Asian-American population. You can throw a stone and hit five places that serve bubble tea. The challenge for businesses is to figure out how to serve this market, a market that seems distinct in its retail habits when compared to others.Posted by peterme at May 24, 2006 09:45 AM