01 July 2008

Smittys Hanging in There

Smitty's sign is looking a little worn lately:



[where: 1429 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

Just a block north, there is a new mural about to appear next to a new parking lot on the site of the infamous Empire Theater:


...stuff on the sidewalk:


[where: 1521 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202] (Empire Theater site)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,
I believe Smitty's buildings are now owned by 3CDC. I wonder how long that store will be around.
Matt Scheidt

Radarman said...

I went into Smitty's exactly once. It was in the nineteen seventies and I was curious to see if there was money to be saved by shopping at one of the city's independent merchants. I was all but thrown out for being a clueless white guy. Very unwelcoming.

CityKin said...

^Matt, I don't think they do.

3CDC did buy 1423 Vine and Model did buy 1421 Vine, but the auditors records show that "Smiths Toggery Shoppe" still owns 1425, 1431, 1433, Vine.

I also noticed that 3CDC finally bought the troubled building just to the south of Krogers (1412 Vine), but that the building to the north of Krogers, which is a dive bar called the Pohlar Cafe, is still independent and operating.

CityKin said...

radarman; they do seem to be disdainful of all their customers.

VisuaLingual said...

Radarman, Smitty's may have been, and perhaps still is, unwelcoming, but basing your opinion on a single experience you had 30+ years ago seems silly. At least, publicly stating this basis for your opinion strikes me as silly.

Matt Ross said...

^visualingual:
Really? I thought his sharing the specificity of his experience gave his opinion more validity. Seems like most people would just say something general like 'they're unwelcoming and racist!'.

Anyway, that's how any business loses customers, especially since Smitty's looks exactly like it did in the 70s. Not really a sign that anything has changed there (as Citykin subjectively states).

Matt Ross said...

By the way, I still can't believe what happened to the Empire - it still ticks me off.

justforview said...

Isn't the spot of this mural going to be obstructed or eliminated by the proposed building you posted a few weeks ago?

CityKin said...

No.

This scaffolding/mural is in the 1500 block of Vine, across from the Med Center. The City owns the lot and is putting in a parking lot, I believe at the request of the Med Center staff.

The new building that Model is building at 14th and Vine also has scaffolding up, but that is for construction of a wall, not for a mural.

VisuaLingual said...

Matt and Radarman, I'm not arguing with the "unwelcoming" sentiment being true [or not]. Yes, it's fair for a business to lose customers because of poor customer service. I just think it's silly to bring that up 30+ years later, when you don't know if that's true now. Of course, I just admire the signage from the relative comfort of the sidewalk; what do I know?

CityKin said...

It is a fascinating store. If you go inside, you are surrounded by displays so tight that you can barely turn around. And yes the street presence is all-out attention grabbing. Definitely a throw back.

I think it is worth wondering if a new storefront like this would be permitted now that it is an Historic District.

justforview said...

I'm pretty sure the historic district guidelines cite it as an example of what not to do in terms of signage.

Radarman said...

It was Smitty - or the then incarnation of Smitty - a white guy, who gave me the bum's rush.

I have to say that I kind of like Smitty's honkytonk street lights. They're a last bit of the old Vine Street which was once lined with saloons. Downtown could use a little bit of that cheezy glitz.

And, speaking of Vine Street saloons, are there any plans for the building that was once Wielert's Beer Garden where Boss Cox used to hold court? It's up by Kroger and apart from Grammar's, one of the last buildings of its type.

CityKin said...

I also agree, we could use more of the glitz.

OTRFAN said...

at night - you can see Smitty's from space... pretty cool