24 favorite local businesses

I don’t know who Samantha Goldsberry is, but I do know she’s a Fort Wayne blogger with excellent taste.

Back in November, she listed her 24 favorite local businesses. I’m happy to say I’ve been to some of her favorites, but I still need to visit some more in order to become an official gold-star Fort Wayne resident. (I moved here in 1998, btw.)

Here are the places she listed that I’ve visited:

  • Atz’s Ice Cream Shoppe: The servings are ginormous
  • Coney Island: The ambiance is perfectly ’50s.
  • Cebolla’s Mexican Grille: Great place to take family.
  • Firefly Cafe: Great place to take wife.
  • Munchie’s Emporium: I can’t resist the unwraps.
  • Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo: What family doesn’t have a zoo pass?
  • Azar’s Big Boy: Oh boy the fish and chips.

Notice how many of them are restaurants!

I am embarrassed to say I haven’t been to the following, although they’re so close to where I live:

  • Powers Hamburgers
  • Cindy’s Diner
  • The Thirsty Camel
  • Three Rivers Co-op

But here are some additional places that I think say “Fort Wayne” that I have visited and that she didn’t list:

  • Bell’s Roller Rink
  • Paula’s on Main
  • Redwood Inn
  • Castle Gallery

What do you think? I didn’t grow up here, so tell me: What locally owned places can you name that exemplify Fort Wayne culture?

photo by Everett White on Flickr

The battle of Water Song addition

Water Song

If a developer told you he was going to build a gas station on the property behind your house, after you were told by the home builder that the property’s zoned for an office park, what would you do?

Some residents of Water Song addition near the corner of Coldwater and Union Chapel roads want to fight it tooth and nail. Resident Donald Bengel, in a letter to the editor in The News-Sentinel, says he may be willing to go to court over the matter. (You can read his letter on the continuation page.)

But it’s very difficult for any government to kill a new business in cold blood, especially one on a busy corner. It’s likely the challenge would go nowhere.

Instead, why not consider the long-term needs of the neighborhood, and fight for that?

Like most carved-from-the-cornfield developments, Water Song is 100 percent residential, cut off from any business or service. Perhaps there are sidewalks, but there are precious few reasons to walk them.

Run out of milk? Drive to the store. Want a cup of coffee? Drive to a coffee shop.

But if the developer of the gas station is encouraged to serve the neighborhood it borders, he could do the following:

  • Build a sidewalk between the neighborhood and store, for walking, biking and skateboarding — and include a bike rack.
  • Point the outdoor lights downward.
  • Stock essentials, such as milk, bread, butter and batteries.
  • Construct the side of the gas station facing the neighborhood not as a blank wall, but with a nice little coffee house with plenty of windows, such as a Higher Grounds.
  • Be sure there isn’t a drive-through lane or any other traffic between the store and the neighborhood, for safety.

Come at the developer as enemies, and you’ll get a losing battle. But come at him as potential customers, and he very well may build a place that would serve your neighborhood rather than injure it.

Photo of Water Song addition from Google Maps. See the jump for the full text of the letter to the editor referenced.

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