• By Kirk Gaw

New Kitchen Store And Other Walkerton Retail Compete With Amazon In New Poll

Last Wednesday, The Walkerton Page conducted yet another poll in an effort to discover Walkerton spending habits. From Wednesday 'til Friday the 9th our poll involved 31 participants. Our objective is to find where people are shopping for gifts in the Walkerton area? As you may or, may not know we are a unique, 4 county district with 15,000 + residents who maintain the historic community. Walkerton has a unique position on the south side of South Bend traversing US 30 to the south, US 31 to the east, and along historic US 6, the longest highway in the nation.

The New Kitchen Store wins our readers poll as the favorite Walkerton store to buy gifts.

The old, Victorian, commercial district is perfect for a jaunt and exists between the Nickel Plate Railroad and Roosevelt Rd. It survives stories after tales. Once, travelers would disembark at one of the 4 Walkerton train stations to stretch their legs and get a look at the town. They could stay at the Starr Hotel, see a show at the Rialto theater for film or vaudeville, eat at one of the many restaurants or grills, and shop for gifts at any of the stores offering retail.

Travelers could even have their portraits taken at one of the photo studios to send back home to Mom and Dad. Today, you will continue to find the same spirit in Walkerton! The New Kitchen Store not only offers housewares, recipe books, and gourmet products? You can find the friendliest staff to assist you in getting the perfect gift for any occasion! The New Kitchen Store features a wide variety of merchandise, from locally made dishware to nationally acclaimed products like Lodge Ironware, Nora Fleming Accessories, and Decor.

They also offer international brands, like Wusthof Knives, and "Garnier Thiebaut" French linens, for those who want their kitchens and cooking to have a globe-trotting flair. On top of all that, they also offer customers a gift basket program, bridal registry, year-round cooking class and, even have a Thursday Farmers Market during the warmer weather in their parking lot.

According to the poll The New Kitchen Store won with the most votes. 10 out of 31 preferred them for gifts! They are competing with online, internet retailer, Amazon, who got 2nd place. Online internet shopping continues to be a convenience for those who choose to stay at home because they are too busy. Online shopping is easy. Other stores in Walkerton vying for customers who shop local for gifts included Dollar General on Michigan St., CVS on Liberty St., MJ Package Liquor on Roosevelt, Falcon Fire Ceramics on Roosevelt, and Kabelin's True Value on Indiana St.

The new retail beginning to rise is, like the rest of our lives, mediated by the digital: shops located in nearby South Bend carry on without shopping bags and act as showrooms for products you have to order later online. Stores as places to hang out and drink coffee, maybe pick up a set of millennial-pink dinner plates or sniff a candle, and then Instagram that you were there. These are stores set up as playgrounds of hashtag zones that include neon signs blaring hipper-than-thou epigrams like your comfort zone will kill you; stores as community centers for your chosen community between South Bend, Mishawaka, LaPorte, Michigan City, and Plymouth.

The old models for retail broken, or at least a good deal less sturdy, and rents finally in decline, risks are being taken. That willingness to experiment means that certain seemingly threatened but, perhaps more resilient than imagined retailers such as bookstores are returning in new forms. Shakespeare & Co. is opening four new stores nationwide, but they’re much smaller than the old ones on both coasts. Only 2,000-to-3,000 square feet of space is found for the chain, because new technology allows books to be printed and bound while you wait, minimizing the need for shelf space.

The move toward experimentation in retail is epitomized by the here-and-gone pop-up shop, what the brokerage CBRE calls “rogue retail.” A U.K. company named "Appear Here" is running what is essentially an Airbnb for pop-ups and has put its distinctive stickers on unoccupied storefronts all over the country!

Walkerton has plenty of retail space from Illinois St., and the old Dollar General / Brass Lion shopping center, to the old Falcon Dipper on top of the hill at east Roosevelt. There is even the old Memories Pizza space on Roosevelt!

Today, while shoppers are looking for convenience they don't have far to go with Kabelins, and MJ Package store right here for the traditional gifts that are considered staples. A bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, Wine, Champagne, or the many options found at Kabelins! I remember as a kid finding the best toys at Kabelins. They even have clothing, housewares, sleds, sportswear, and crafts! Walkerton continues to offer convenience from any one of the many locations open for shoppers.

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