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Attracting more foot traffic on wish list for Downtown Auburn, some say

Most agree current selection of shops, restaurants is good
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Ask Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Cosgrove what he’d like to see added to Downtown Auburn and he says the answer is easy: Trader Joe’s. “I don’t know if Trader Joe’s is looking for a Downtown Auburn location. I know they were looking at Auburn before the recession and I think when the economy gets a little healthier — when they are looking at expanding again — I think they’ll look at Auburn. Will they come? That’s up to Trader Joe’s.” That aside, Cosgrove is happy with what Downtown offers. “We here at the chamber look at the business mix not only in Downtown, but throughout the Auburn community… We feel it is good and improving,” he said. He credits Streetscape and a reviving economy with infusing new life into local commerce. “I think that Streetscape brought a significant improvement in foot traffic, giving people a reason to get out of cars and come into Downtown,” he said. “It’s a more walkable core area now.” Auburn resident Janine Corby, who was having her hair done at Argonauta Salon Monday, would welcome a wider selection of shops. “I’d like to see some more clothing stores, some specialty food stores, art (studios) — something that’s more attractive to out-of-towners,” she said. “We could use better shopping and definitely we need more restaurants.” Kids’ Closet employee Michele Sardella would like to see a coffee shop closer to Central Square. “It would be nice to have a place to get a sandwich or breakfast down in the plaza area,” she said. However, other residents like Downtown just as it is. “There seems to be something to draw many different people,” said Barbara Black, employee at Tango frozen yogurt shop on Central Square. “There are bakeries, clothing and bike shops and (much more) to bring people downtown.” Chelsea Doupnik, front desk at Bukovina, also likes the mix. “We have quite a few stores, but more antique shops would be nice — more little window-shopping places and more up-to-date clothing stores,” she said. For Cosgrove, a key part of further strengthening Downtown is completing Streetscape. “The real challenge for us is to work together — the Downtown Business Association, the Old Town Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the city of Auburn — to find a creative way to see the balance of the Streetscape project completed over the next 10 to 15 years with or without redevelopment,” he said. “… There’s tremendous support for it. …That will continue to enhance Downtown ambiance and the economy to encourage greater foot traffic and people will spend more time shopping in the Downtown corridor.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com.