New businesses calling Fifth Avenue home – Ice cream, art co-op among shops to lure locals to the area

by Edward Gately – Jul. 26, 2012 04:09 PM
The Republic |

Summer heat may have slowed pedestrian traffic, but new business activity continues to surface along downtown Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue.

Near Scottsdale Road and Fifth Avenue, a Chicago-based, family-owned business that dates to 1919 has selected a storefront along the street for its first location outside of the Windy City.

And heading west on the street, an artists’ co-op will open a gallery in space that formerly housed a wholesale fashion market. A fine-jewelry broker will be opening a storefront in the same building.

Additionally, two newer businesses near Goldwater Boulevard and Fifth have expanded their locations to meet customer demand.

Scott Yanni, Fifth Avenue Area Merchants Association spokesman, said businesses are coming to Fifth Avenue because they want to be “part of something.” The merchant mix has shifted from mostly tourist venues to destination shops, which are attracting local customers.

“It’s all locals who are coming to find something they’re looking for,” he said. “And the merchants are really starting to come together and build a community. A lot of new people are coming down here and they want to be involved.”

Straight from Chicago

Silver Land Kachinas & Pottery, and the second-floor House of Broadcasting Museum have temporarily closed at 7150 E. Fifth Ave. because of water damage. Both will be reopening within a few months, but a portion of the first floor that housed Silver Land has been leased to Petersen’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, which will open its first Arizona location.

Terry Spanos, managing partner, said they wanted to open on Fifth Avenue because it’s “elegant, on the rise, and up and coming.”

“We came out here about three months ago with wholesale distribution and now we’re opening our first store,” he said.

Petersen’s ice cream was named best dessert at this year’s Scottsdale’s Culinary Festival.

Patrons of the ice-cream parlor will feel like they’ve stepped into the 1920s, with tin ceiling, mosaic-tile floors, chandeliers and a soda machine from the 1920s, he said. All of the materials and equipment are being shipped from Chicago, he said.

“Our original trademark store in Oak Park, Illinois, opened in 1919 and we’re opening two stores in Chicago and one in Arizona,” Spanos said. “We don’t franchise out because we want to keep it in the family.”

The location should open in mid-September. Hiring will begin soon and there will be about eight employees, he said.

“We’re going to have some tables along the property line in front of (Silver Land) and our store,” Spanos said. “Also, the windows will be open with the smell of waffle cones baking all day coming out into the street.”

Art and jewelry

Scottsdale Fashion Market closed last fall at 7050 E. Fifth Ave. Most of the space has remained vacant, but much of it now has been leased by a co-op of artists, an offshoot of the Fountain Hills Artists Gallery.

The co-op plans to open On the Edge Gallery in early September.

“They’ve been running the Fountain Hills Artists Gallery for about five years and have been very successful at it,” said Jane Nassano, advertising coordinator. “They had been constantly getting requests from other people, other artists, to do the same thing here in downtown Scottsdale.”

The co-op had been eyeing the downtown area in recent years, but held off because of the recession. It recently decided to lease a space because of all the new residential and events taking place in the area.

“We plan on having probably close to 40 artists represented in the gallery, and all of them will be running the gallery as well, so we’ll have people on the floor,” Nassano said. “Right now we’ve got 32 artists for sure and we’re trying to get 40 just to fill out the space nicely. Each artist will have a (small) display space. We’ll probably do featured artists, but they’ll be within the pool of artists who run the gallery.”

On the Edge should benefit from the tourists who frequent Fifth Avenue during cooler months, but the co-op really wants to draw residents to the gallery, she said.

Next door, Drayton and Dorothy Williams are opening a storefront for their fine-jewelry brokerage business. The yet-to-be-named business will open next week, and most of its clients are professional football players, Drayton Williams said.

“We’re always filling orders so I’m sure the street will see lots of new faces, lots of NFL players,” he said. “I love the location, it’s perfect.”

Businesses expand

Kevin Cherrick relocated his fitness center, Cactus Crossfit, from the Scottsdale Airpark to Fifth Avenue in June 2011. The center first was in a small, temporary space, and then opened in a larger space in October at 7038 E. Fifth Ave.
Earlier this summer, the fitness center expanded from 2,700 square feet to 3,600 square feet.

“We moved from 30 to 160 clients in a year, so we needed the space,” Cherrick said. “The location on Fifth Avenue is really advantageous to our business.”

The back of the business is along the Arizona Canal, where numerous residents run and cycle, and that has attracted clients, he said. Plus, traffic along Fifth Avenue is slow, allowing drivers to look inside and see the activity, he said.

“It’s high energy … they see that,” he said. “This fit what we were looking for and we’ve been able to get what we wanted from this move.”

Just east of Cactus Crossfit, Buffalo Collection at Scenic Mesa has doubled the size of its store at 7044 E. Fifth Ave. The store sells buffalo-leather furniture and rugs, and is the company’s only location outside of Aspen, Colo.

“We have so many pieces in our collections that we couldn’t show them properly and it kind of makes it a little more comfortable now for people to walk through and enjoy the pieces,” said Michael Levenberg, who co-manages the store with Laura Kelly. “We’ve had great response to the pieces. It’s really nice to have a showroom now.”

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