Monday, July 28, 2014

Arbor Pointe of Inver Grove Heights, MN

Having observed the Arbor Pointe development over the years, and having read this article published in the Pioneer Press a few months ago, it seemed a photo stop was in order to document some of the closures in the area. The following photos were taken about a week ago:

Rainbow Foods, while not a part of the actual Arbor Pointe retail section, was one of the first major businesses to move into the area following housing development. Walmart was the other big business to proceed the development, however a photo was not obtained of that store.

This Rainbow was one of nine in the Twin Cities area that failed to attract any buyers following the decision by Roundy's to sell the chain.This store was originally built in the late 1990's, and seemed to do well in its early years. During the recession however they seemed to struggle to attract a steady amounts of customers. For example, when only one of the 15 checkout lines is open, and there's a bell sitting on the conveyor to summon a cashier, you can tell the store is not very busy.

The main sign for the Arbor Pointe Retail Center, seen on the corner of Concord Blvd. and Broderick Blvd.

Walgreens closed their Arbor Pointe location after ten years in business.My guess is a lack of steady drive up business and strong competition from the Walmart across the street lead to its demise.

Two other Walgreens are still going in Inver Grove, and while both are over towards the north end of town, there may have been some over-saturation of the brand.

Advance Auto Parts is another victim, this store closed last year. A Discount Tire is located across Broderick Blvd, so that may have had some impact. Otherwise the lack of easy access into the Arbor Pointe development probably took customers elsewhere.

A&W, this one had multiple strikes against its success. The restaurant was located in the interior of the development, limiting visibility from the major streets. Management was also a problem here in my opinion. Poor service and poor quality food are not going to keep customers coming back.

The one business that does seem to do well here is banking. Wells Fargo built a branch here in the mid 2000's or so, and is still active today. Another bank also opened a branch here, however they closed the location after a few years. Associated Bank finally leased or bought the building recently though, and seems to be flourishing.

It is worth noting that Ruby Tuesday, and a few specialty shops still survive in the development. A new multistory senior living apartment complex was also recently added.

What is in store for Arbor Pointe in the future is unknown. If residential development in the area continues to sit without much activity, then there probably won't be much action. If demand does pick up once again, then there will probably be a bit of a retail renaissance. While I'm no development expert, in my opinion a few improvements can be made in the design and layout of the development. The mish-mash of individual lots for each store seems confusing and counterproductive. If I want to grab a new brake light bulb, and then pick up a bottle of asprin at a drugstore, I'm much more likely to go to a location where I can park my car and then walk to each store, instead of pulling into one lot, and then moving the car 500' feet to the other lot, and then driving across the street to grab a snack.

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