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An Empty Storefront Gets A Makeover

New program to dress up Main Street vacancies.

Of all the vacant storefronts on Main Street in Port Washington, 38 Main Street is distinct.

That’s because its window is framed with photos of old Port Washington, offering a historical glimpse of the community’s waterfront, commerce, parades and more.

And while the words “for rent” are centered in the upper portion of the window, with a number to call for would-be tenants, there is still plenty of open space for interested parties to eye the property’s interior from outside.

“We wanted to make it inviting to look through,” said Betsy Liegey, a board member of Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington, who led the initiative under the nonprofit.

The initiative is intended to help reduce the number of vacancies on Main Street, and the decreased morale and property values that go along with it. At the same time it aims to boost the aesthetic quality of Main Street.

The layout was designed and installed by PosterSigns.com of Port Washington, the program's inaugural sponsor.

“We looked at what other downtowns were doing with their vacancies and saw that Baldwin was doing something similar,” but with children’s art, Liegey said.

Future installations in Port Washington may include local children’s artistic interpretations of their visions for Port Washington, Liegey noted, adding, “We’ve met with schools and started that conversation.

The window at 38 Main Street, once the home of C3 salon, whose principals have since relocated to a larger space nearby, also includes the slogan "Keep Port Beautiful... Pass it on." The hope there is to remind community members to do their part to keep Main Street litter-free.

The property is owned by Ressa Real Estate, which readily agreed to participate in the initiative to showcase the vacancy in a new way.

“We’re happy to be a part of the program,” said Anthony Ressa, adding that the adorned window “looks better than one with a for-rent sign.”

He added that the location is “a highly trafficked area between the boulevard and the train station.”

And though Artie Dunn, who handles rentals for Ressa, said he hasn’t seen an uptick in the number of inquiries since the signage was installed in late January, he agreed that the window likely “looks better” from the perspective of surrounding businesses.

Eric Katcher of PosterSigns.com said sponsoring this first window was a no-brainer. 

“I love to make this town more beautiful,” he said.

In sponsoring the window, Katcher said he worked with a designer to expand the photos and transfer them to a cling material that adheres to the window.

The effort is the second go-round for RFAMBPW, whose earlier attempt did not stay on the window. But with Katcher's expertise and Liegey's commitment to the project, the program is seeing new life. 

RFAMBPW hopes to transform other vacancies, and will work to find a sponsor for the initiative to bring attention to the storefront.

jonathan winant February 22, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Well for once we are not reading about RFMBPW and Rezoning. Maybe RFMBPW should keep doing these types of projects as well as the planting and similar projects are town. This might also help people donate money to what started as a good cause.
HelpfulinaCrisis February 22, 2013 at 10:05 PM
I'm glad they are so happy making vacant businesses look better. I wish they would work as hard to get someone to actually rent the property.
Donna Rice February 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM
How do you plan to paper over the Shields Property??
Local Resident February 22, 2013 at 10:30 PM
No mention that 42 Main Street has sat vacant with no floor for numerous years? Way to ignore the fact that another property has looked like garbage for years. It wasn't until the recently installed plywood storefront that everyone who passed by this property on Main Street was able to see into the floorless space.
Local Resident February 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Are Mindy and Dina connected at the hip? Or, are they just "connected"? Seems one can not be photographed without the other.
LPK February 23, 2013 at 03:42 PM
I agree, instead of worrying about making Main Streets empty stores look pretty, how about making the rents affordable and actually attract businesses! It's so ridiculous that a town with the income levels we have has such a depressing Main Street.

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