Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bluegrass Powersports

This dealer of scooters, mopeds and ATV vehicles at 5524 Bardstown Road scooted on out recently.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The 110 Building

So whatever was in this building at 110 E. Main Street? It's been empty and available for seemingly an eternity, and a quick Google search didn't yield anything immediate - just a realtor's page and of course, Google Maps Street View.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lee Roy's Sports Bar & Grill

Never patronized Lee Roy's Sports Bar & Grill at 5000 Poplar Level Road, but it must have been quite a swingin' spot. For years now it's been boarded up and abandoned, not even currently for sale or lease. Prior to Lee Roy's, it was something called Ballatore's Restaurant.

Their sign, now gone, was still intact whenever the Google Maps Street View images were taken.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Factory, 18th and Main

Dunno what used to be here, but I've always admired this handsome old factory building at the corner of 18th and Main, in the Russell area. (Most people consider that whole general area past, say, Glassworks, to be Portland, but it's actually Russell.)

And a couple weeks ago I drove past it to find, to my horror, that it's being demolished. I'm sure whatever is built in its place will be attractive, functional, and exciting. (*cough*)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Walgreens, Fourth Street

People make waggish remarks about there being a Starbucks everywhere you look, but did you notice how there really is a Walgreens within walking distance of practically any point in the city? In some areas, you have Walgreens stores spaced only 60 seconds apart.

So how come the one on Fourth Street had to close down?

The empty space has sat here for a long time now. If Walgreens had any sense, they'd get it back and move back in again. This one was the oldest and the best.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wild Birds Unlimited

1969 South Hurstbourne Parkway: Another dearly departed store, with a poignant goodbye note etched in a font fraught with pathos, on the door...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bluegrass Industrial Park

It seems like the Bluegrass Industrial Park area has more and more empty spaces every time I drive through it. Once a rarity, realtor's signs are literally everywhere you look out here now.

There are other industrial parks adjacent, but generally, everyone just refers to this area as "the industrial park", or "that place where all the streets have scientific names". (Such as: Bunsen, Laser, Data, Decimal, Technology, Ampere, Electron, Cobalt, Element, Diode)

The way businesses are disappearing fast out here, maybe this is a good time to score some industrial space. Hopefully some of these places are really willing to wheel-and-deal now. (They'd better be - all of these locations in these images are within one or two minutes drive from each other.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Police Doughnuts

Well, that didn't take long.

It was just a couple months ago that I wrote about Police Doughnuts on Unusual Kentucky raving about their wares and their wacky concept. And now I just drove by there and noticed their sign has been taken down and the place is empty.

There's a message scrawled on the window that they're just closed for remodeling and will reopen soon. But if that's the case, why on Earth would they go to all the excruciating trouble of unmounting and removing the massive electric sign they had just finished installing on the front of the building?

Furthermore, I just called their number and it's been disconnected. They must be remodeling their phone number as well.

If they are indeed reopening soon, it seems clear that it's going to be a different concept, otherwise there'd be no need to ditch their brand-new "Police Doughnuts" sign or disconnect the phone.

I am colossally bummed now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Olive's on Fourth

How long has Olive's been gone? Just noticed recently that the place appears empty, and their telephone's disconnected. 570 S. 4th Street.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nios at 917

Nios at 917 was one of Louisville's finest restaurants. So naturally, of course it didn't last, while some of Louisville's worst ones continue to persist and thrive. It was run by the great Jun Eugenio, formerly of Jicama Grill, another one of Louisville's finest restaurants that no longer exists.

Before Nios, it was a rather cheesy nightclub called @mosphere, and before that, it was Bazo's Baja Grill, and before that it was Jupiter Grill. There were a few other fly-by-night ventures in there as well, long since forgotten by me.

Then way back in the day, it was a Masonic lodge called Shibboleth Hall, which is a name I find fascinating. (Check out this Unusual Kentucky blog post to find out why.)

And way, way back in the day, this building began as the Gem Theatre, another subject of great interest to me. I'm trying to find out more about the Gem, and what sort of plays were staged there.

What's next for 917 Baxter Avenue? Something, I hope. It's too beautiful a building to stay uninhabited.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lose Bros.

The Lose Bros. lawn and garden store at 4530 Poplar Level Road bit the dust a couple years ago, and the property still remains unoccupied.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Highland Fruit Market

Three years ago, when I lived on Christy Avenue, visits to Highland Fruit Market at the corner of Christy and Barret were part of my morning routine. So it saddens me to see that not only are they out of business, the building itself seems to be in increasingly dilapidated shape.

Below, an image from Google Maps Street View showing Highland Fruit Market in happier times.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


At least two or three years ago, all the Petroz gas stations in town seemed to go under simultaneously. It's a shame, because they were sort of an underdog among the big-name usual suspects in the gas biz. The one pictured here is on Dixie Highway, and I also know of dead Petroz stations on Broadway and on Mellwood.

Some of the legal corporate rigamorole behind the scenes of Petroz' decline and demise can be found on delisted.com.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dragon Garden

Despite have been gone for a long, long time, the old Dragon Garden building on Bardstown Road remains empty and unrented.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Schwinn Bicycles & Fitness

Another St. Matthews casualty - Schwinn Bicycles & Fitness at 106 Sears Avenue.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gourmet for Everyone

Rarely have I been so bummed out at a store's closing than when Gourmet For Everyone called it a day. Deb Hall and Brian Hall had everything right about this place, down to the last little details.... except maybe, just maybe, the location. They were in Landis Lakes, the same East End Lake Forest edge-of-the-county shopping center as Sophie's Yarn, and the traffic flowing there is just not what it should be, despite the wealthy suburbs that surround the area.

I drove from Middletown regularly to shop at this high-end Gourmet food store, even though Fresh Market was much closer and Whole Foods Market was just a little further down the road from that. I tried to get others from my theatre company to patronize them too, and raved about their wonderful wares. They had a marvelous amount of PR buzz going about the place but in the end, none of it was enough and they ended up in the same boat as Market On Market. On May 16, 2007, the Halls announced:

While we have a number of very loyal customers and store fans who have been enthusiastic about our products, had great PR and a high degree of interest in our cooking classes, we are undercapitalized and unable to sustain the store for another year until it can sustain itself.

While the decision to close the store was extremely difficult to make, we expect the future to be bright as we pursue other yet-to-be-determined career avenues.

Two years later, and the place is still dead as a doornail, totally empty, completely on the market but seemingly unwanted. If only the landlords could have cut Deb and Brian some slack, Landis Lakes would have had a crucial keystone store to help attract more businesses to rent the many, many, many other empty storefronts at Landis Lakes.

(If I ran the zoo - and since I don't, I fully concede I may have no idea what I'm talking about - I would waive rent entirely for certain important tenants to help insure that you have a shopping center that looks vibrant and viable enough to convince all the other tenants to rent the many remaining spaces. You have to at least create the illusion that a stable and functioning retail community is cemented firmly in place, or else no one's gonna wanna take a chance on renting a spot there.)

I hope Deb and Brian have moved on to bigger and better things; I haven't had the chance to speak to either one of them since the store closed its doors two years ago.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Germantown Cafe

Hey! When did the Germantown Cafe give up?? That place was a veritable institution, having been in continuous business for over 130 years at the corner of Goss and Spratt.

In a quick Google search, I didn't immediately see anything that noted the passing of Germantown Cafe, but I did find a realtor site that has the whole rundown on the building.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Movie Gallery, Germantown Square

Despite its greatness, the new Blu-Ray format just isn't taking off, yet the era of the DVD is just about over. Even as attendance at new movies in theaters is dropping drastically, and more and more people are content to watch "whatever's on TV" or whatever nonsense someone's nephew just posted to YouTube.

Let's face it: Hollywood movies are an endangered species.

Therefore, it's not surprising that movie rental outlets are quickly vanishing from the American landscape as quickly as they began popping up like mushrooms in the early 1980s.

Part of me is actually enjoying watching this happen. A big part of me. I'm hoping it'll set the stage for a new renaissance in indie film as well as a renewed vibrancy and respect for stage theatre.

But we both know it's probably really just the dawning of the age of Redbox.

Germantown Square, 1265 Goss Avenue. (Why is this place called Germantown Square when I'm pretty sure it's actually in Schnitzelburg?)