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Fourth Street shops continue tradition of community

DCN Correspondent

As customers walk through the door, they are greeted with a friendly smile and often “Hello,? or “How are you?? Customers then stroll through the store finding various items to purchase. When they bring their items to the checkout counter the cashier strikes up some small talk, and customers leave with a smile like the one with which they were greeted.

This is the type of experience that customers have been accustomed to in the Fourth Street shops of the East Hillside. The various shops that line the street give the people of the Hillside an escape from the larger stores that take away the feeling of community from the shopping experience.

“We are a community store,? said Jake Haugen an employee of The Shanty Bottle Shop, a liquor store located on Fourth Street.

The Shanty Bottle shop has been located on the hillside since 1982, when they moved their store from an old location near Miller Hill Mall. They moved into what was formally another little shop, The House of Donuts.

The people that come into the store come in for the convenience of having the store so close to home. They do not have to travel very far to get what they need from a friendly community store.

“We get a lot of foot traffic in here,? said Haugen. “I know most of the people that come in here.?

A main reason that The Shanty Bottle Shop stays in business is the fact that it is a locally owned store in the heart of the community. “Some people have been in the community for up to 35 years,? said Pam Crotty, the owner of The Shanty Bottle Shop.

There is a fear that weighs on the mind of Crotty about her business. She fears that the larger stores might take away some of her customers because of the products that they are able to carry.

“The big box stores make it hard to compete,? said Crotty. “We just don’t have the funds and the space [like larger stores].?

Although Crotty might lose some customers to the larger stores, she feels that they will not drive her out of business.

“I’ll always have customers,? said Crotty.

She feels that the community is too dense to not have customers and that people enjoy a smaller and friendlier store. The history of The Shanty Bottle Shop is not yet over if you talk to the owner. She feels the store will live on in the East Hillside.

Karen Nelson is the owner of a newer store located on the Fourth Street stretch of small businesses. Nelson and her husband are the owners of the small retro store, Obscurities Retro, which carries vintage clothing, music, and other various items.

This store is not only a small store located in the hillside community, they are also involved with the community. According to the store’s MySpace page, they sell music made by local artists and give all the proceeds back to the artists themselves.

Nelson is aware of the larger businesses that present most of the shopping opportunities for consumers.

“I’d like to see more home-spun businesses,? said Nelson referring to stores like hers, which is actually located in her house.

These businesses remain a staple of Fourth Street because they are locally owned and part of the Central Hillside community.

These smaller businesses carry tradition with them, which the large corporate businesses generally do not. Crotty has been around the liquor business her whole life and it just seemed like the thing to do when she started her own store.

“When I was a young girl, my father was in the liquor business,? said Crotty.