The Madison Daily Leader marks the retirement of longtime local pharmacist Bob Schamber. Schamber's retirement also brings the closing of Dakota Drug, a fixture of downtown retail since I was a kid...
...which brings us to this morning's underappreciated business opportunity. Go to HJN Team Realty's website, dig up Listing #2100643 for the Dakota Drug building. 6800 square feet. Two stories, including the really cool staircase and open second-floor retail space where I always looked at the puzzle books and comics when I was little. Great corner street parking and a big municipal parking lot right out back. Spectacular visibility, with a popular local restaurant right across the street. There's even an apartment included in the west side, the space where John Green used to have his studio.
Asking price: $99,900.
Less than $100K, for one of the best retail locations on Madison's Main Street.
Now if I had $100K burning a hole in my pocket, I'd still rather acquire the Masonic Temple and put a down payment on renovations. But the more sensible entrepreneurs among you, dear readers, must be able to see the potential of this prime downtown location. Perhaps Madison's bookstore could expand and open a used book emporium in the upstairs. Perhaps another electronics store could open to compete with Radio Shack across the street for the burgeoning market of technogeek DSU students. Perhaps a second coffeeshop could open and put out shady tables where we prairie intellectuals could gather to mock the tacky signs at the Stadium grill. Perhaps a frame shop and gallery could open to serve the remarkable number of artists in the neighborhood... and rent out the apartment as a rural artist retreat!
Given the importance of this building as a Main Street retail anchor, it's surprising the LAIC isn't promoting this business opportunity. (Then again, the LAIC's "Available Properties" page also fails to mention Bub's Service, Kearin's Service, and Doug's Auto, three other business opportunities just waiting for progressive, ambitious buyers eager to serve Lake County's automotive needs.) But hey, don't let the LAIC's blinders keep you from seeing the possibilities. Can you find the niche (sports equipment? outdoor store? baby gear?) that lets you compete with Pamida and Lewis? Can you repurpose this building into a community cultural center? Put your thinking caps on, get out your checkbook, and think up a new use for the Dakota Drug building!
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