Living close to Pittsburg Old Town is wonderful. Sitting at the water’s edge, we are fortunate to have access to so many resources: the new park, the Marina, Riverview Park, the Pittsburg Yacht Club, and the businesses that make up the heart of the town. But there is a problem. A major problem. Like that of a wheezing, spluttering, congested old man, Pittsburg’s heart – the businesses that are its life blood – is failing. Let’s take stock…
- Momo Japanese Restaurant and Bar
- Hall of Fame Sports Bar & Grill
- Bay Area Bikes
- The Palace of Fine Foods
- Nana’s Place
- Country Skillets
- Needles and Threads (tattoo shop bizarrely replaced by its sibling, laser tattoo removal)
- Marina Mini Mart
- The Dungeness Crab
have all closed. Take a moment for that to sink in. Shut up shop, closed, shuttered, gone belly up – all of them!
Now, although I can’t say I was particularly sad to see one or two of them go, I have to ask why we keep losing so many businesses like this? None of them seemed to be doing badly. Bay Area Bikes had been in Old Town for years and enjoyed strong support from Pittsburgians and out-of-towners alike. And theirs was exactly the kind of business Pittsburg so desperately needs to hold on to. To nurture and help grow. Clean and green, with a passion to create healthy individuals and even healthier communities, their philosophy contrasted so starkly with that of the proposed WesPac project, the disastrous Marina Express, or yet another thrift store.
Recently we spoke to other business owners in Old Town to ask them about the sudden down-turn and two things were immediately mentioned. The first problem is simple enough – Pittsburg imposes a ridiculous high level of rent on businesses. And secondly, and perhaps most significantly, there is a distinct lack of help for businesses from the City, with few efforts being made to bring people – and their wallets – into our little town. The annual Art & Wine Stroll and the Culinary Crawl are a start but frankly are just not enough. And the events need better signage at the Railroad and Route 4 junction because, right now, there is little to draw folks in from the highway. And with the arrival of the inevitably chaotic eBart station, it will be increasingly difficult for Old Town to make its presence known.