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Letter: There’s plenty to like about downtown Hastings

To the editor,

I would like to address the letter to the editor that was written by Laura Suess in this week’s paper. I do not believe that the downtown was given a fair shake in this letter. I see several points in this letter that are not true so I am a little confused… Did you take in the whole downtown? The letter stated we need a coffee shop. True, we do not have a standalone coffee shop, but Karl’s Red Rock Café has a coffee shop within it with tables outside to sit and enjoy your coffee right next door to Dust Jacket Books (which is not a Barnes and Nobles but it is locally owned and he has a great selection of books to choose from).

Also stated was the lack of a shoe store downtown like Payless Shoes. True, we are not a chain shoe store, but there is a family shoe store with shoe and leather repair two doors down from the new (and beautiful) bridge. It is called The TownCobbler Family Shoes and The TownCobbler Shoe and Leather Repair. They carry many quality shoes in different brands. It has been there for years in a beautiful brick front building that is on the Historic Register. Many if not most of the buildings are on the historic register (which would prohibit them from being leveled). I personally think our buildings are beautiful and could not even think about any of them being torn down.

I think the whole point of the historic downtown is to have unique stores instead of the big box stores that are in every town. We have several nice clothing stores—Meyer Co., La Tee Dah Boutique, The Carousel, and Chrysalis, which has clothing and gifts. We have a new gift store (Gifts Galore), we have a toy store (Second Childhood), we have a fine jewelry store (Beren’s Jewelry), an art store (Tenacious K’s), a beautiful photography studio (Marthaler Photography) in which the building was totally remodeled both inside and out, a unique pottery store (Mississippi Clayworks), a religious gift store (Divine Inspirations), a grocery store (Reissner’s) and Lawrence Interiors, to name a few.

A new popcorn/candy/store is in the works and will be open in the very near future. The downtown also has many office and service businesses that are necessary, too, including a beauty school and a few wonderful beauty salons. There are more businesses downtown that may not have been mentioned in this letter but are still a wonderful asset to our community. I believe we are a very diverse downtown.

Yes, we have a few antique stores but they are all unique and different. I know that some people are not into antiques but there are many, many people who are and they come to visit and love to browse as many different antique/collectible stores as possible in one day. Then they go into the other stores that are downtown, too, which benefits everyone. I am one of those people who, when I go antique shopping, I want to go from store to store to store. I do not think we have too many antique and collectible stores. We only have one thrift store in the downtown area and that is a division of Hastings Family Service. The proceeds from that store go to serve the needs of the Hastings community, so there again I don’t believe we have too many thrift stores either.

We have many fine restaurants and bars and are in the process of getting a new one in the old Mississippi Belle building (which is currently being remodeled). It will be called Bella Vista and will be an Italian restaurant. We have the Busted Nut—a quaint and unique bar/restaurant where you can throw your peanut shells on the floor and we have the Onion Grille, which has a wonderful fine dining menu and a banquet room upstairs to hold parties/showers, etc. The American Legion has a deck outside to view the river, there’s Second Street Depot (with its unique train décor) and as mentioned before Karl’s Red Rock Café.

The downtown area is also going to have a revitalized riverfront—with a pavilion and many other features. The new bridge is beautiful and the work that has just been completed underneath really compliments our historic downtown with its beautiful murals, stone seating and much-needed parking spaces.

I am proud of our historic downtown and would like to invite you to return and take a closer look at what we have to offer.