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Thai House Owner: Main Street Unappetizing [International Flavors of Smithtown]

Restaurateur says blight, drab business base is keeping him from buying his building.

Despite operating a successful businesses on Main Street, the owner of said he doesn't know how much longer he can swallow the blighted properties and lack of destinations along Smithtown's center.

It's that quandary that has kept restaurant owner Allen Holmquist from spending the $989,000 to buy the building, which his landlord recently put on the market.

“[Main Street is] physically unattractive, [it’s a] decaying block, most of the stores are vacant,” he said. “Obviously people coming down to this area see that and it just gives an overall sense that the area is decaying. It’s not a vibrant area.”

Smithtown Patch has been chronicling the glut of vacant properties that are plaguing Main Street, and has seen similar points made by readers.

But it's not just blight that has Holmquist concerned. Main Street lacks the attractions that other Long Island towns such as Sayville, Huntington and Port Jefferson, have to make them destinations, he said.

“They are almost a magnet for people,” he said. “Smithtown downtown is not that situation.”

The Town of Smithtown has offered up , including the near the train station, but so far no programs have tackled the problem of Main Street vacancies.

One exception, however, is a recent announcement that the town plans to demolish a former auto dealer at 10 East Main Street . Comments on Patch, however, suggest the community was hoping for a better destination business than a masonry shop.

Holmquist said Thai House has grown in the four years it’s been open, but would only consider investing in property locally if there was an economic turnaround and Main Street became more physically attractive.

Adjacent to his restaurant is a former lumberyard, and not having them shipped out as lumber from it. The former near his restaurant.

Thai House, known for its good lunch value and for being one of the few restaurants in the area serving staples such as Pad Thai, rich coconut curries and spicy soups, isn't the only Asian eatery with local business concerns. The owner of Korean barbecue restaurant . In that case, the owner blamed the town for making the permit process too difficult for him to expand.

Bill S. January 11, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Do you think our town officials are listening? It would take them more than 3 minutes to read through our comments and that is their limit for considering our concerns before being dismissed. This town is NOT friendly to small business. We beat up existing businesses and do nothing to attract new, viable businesses. When local businesses finally give up and walk away what else can we expect but deteriorating buildings and blight. We loose goods and services, tax revenues and are left behind to live in deteriorating conditions and spend more to be here. Downtown Smithtown could be a charming place. We already have a historical district (though it is currently deteriorated) which if managed and supported properly could be a real cultural draw. We have a history to build on and attractions like, the great resturants that are already here, which could make our town a true desination point for the entire surounding area. We will need to solve our traffic problem on Main St. if we want to revitalize our town. Eliminating one lane and creating a left turn lane through town is rediculous. We simply have too much volume at certain times of day. Try NO LEFT TURNS during the day time hours. Try FLASHING lights on the curves, better timing of existing traffic lights and more visable police patrols in the evenings when the concern changes from a congested roadway to a road that people speed through. Our local politians need to get their heads out of the sand!
Howard E. Knispel January 11, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Smithtown gets what it deserves. I don't want to be accused of sour grapes, but I keep hearing complaints from people on these pages yet the town re-elects the same people by huge margins on party line votes and you expect different results. You have do nothings on the council all from the same party, the same clubs with no oversight. I proposed numerous ways to revitalize downtown, but my running mate and I received 35% of the vote. Clearly the residents of Smithtown want the status quo.
lisa costello January 11, 2012 at 08:15 PM
excellent point!it is unbelievable to me that pat vecchio is stilllllllllllll in office.
KPLifer January 11, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Camille, A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues. The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term may refer to an overcrowded urban area often associated with specific ethnic or racial populations living below the poverty line. From a statistical perspective, ghettos are typically high crime areas relative to other parts of the city Smithtown is clearly not a ghetto. Howard - amen brother - pat cant live forever.
Candyee January 11, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Anonymous , I am well aware if what a ghetto is . I do not need you to tell me and be sarcastic about it. By the way , WHY are you ANONYMOUS? Why are you hiding ? What are you afraid of? Reveal yourself .
Smithtown Rez January 11, 2012 at 10:39 PM
To your point Howard, Smithtown is a Republican stronghold that will blindly vote the party line, likely for the next 100 years (because if a Democrat would get elected then it would no longer be 99% white, oh know!!!! and everybody would look like Obama!! egads!). So even if your ideas are compelling and have merit, they will never be heard outside of this single party. But that is just the reality, not a detriment to getting good ideas heard. This is a one party town. Your efforts need to be aimed at the primary, not the general election. I would suggest that those that are civic-minded such as yourself (and I applaud your interest in committing yourself to improving the town) become active in the only party that will ever win the election, and try to lead on the issues and evolve the governing body of the town. It stinks, but I think that is the only rational way to look at it. Think of the local government like a high school election. In order to get voter consideration you must attend "Republican High" but once you realize that is simply the ticket to the dance, then you can get back to the issues. While Main Street has its unappealing aspects, I do disagree with the ghetto terms thrown around and the mention that nobody's goes to the restaurants. They all seem to be pretty crowded when I go by every now and again. Smithtown needs a new plan with practical vision, not a miserly great grandfather with little inspiration.
Candyee January 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM
@ Smithtown Rez. I only used the word "ghetto" because , as I , like many others, are so frustrated with what our once beautiful town , has become. Our complaints fall on deaf ears . I do go to the restaurants and try to support new businesses.Not enough do ,though. We need more residents to do the same. BTW, rumor has it Kohls will be taking over where Waldbaums and several other stores where. Figaris' will be moving into the former Blocjkbuster location . Tobacco store has already moved . If this is true ,then this is a plus.
Nick Metrowsky January 11, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Back in the early 1970s, downtown Smithtown was not perfect, it was not Huntington Village, but it still was walkable, Main Street was more than 95% occupied and there was a number of small shops. It had the feeling of a New England town. Apparently, 30 years of solid GOP leadership has turned Smithtown in to Pottersville of "It's a Wonderful Life" fame. Though, from the stories I read here, and photos I've seen, Smithtwon's Main Street is looking more and more like Wyandanch or Brentwood. I suspect that these areas are bad now, as they were back 40 years ago. This is really sad, that people vote for elected leaders who effectively do nothing. Then again, most of the problems in this country are the result of people putting party ahead of a viable candidate. So, voters deserve what they get. Voting blindly, as opposed with intelligence, only results in inferior and corrupt government. Smithtown, is a local example of what we are seeing played out in Albany and in Washington.
V January 12, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Whatever happened to the idea of creating condominiums on the south side of Main Street between New York Avenue and Maple Avenue (former lumber yard)? That would bring residents to the immediate area who would prefer to walk along Main Street to do their errands and enjoy the town. Most of the buildings are delapidated, too -- sorry Corner Dance Studio, but the siding is falling off the building on the east-facing wall!
R U Kidding January 16, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Thats right I forgot them repubs allowed section 8 housing in Smithtown
R U Kidding January 16, 2012 at 03:41 AM
@ Camile, would love to see Kohls move here (if it can fit into that spot (little Small). Major issue at hand for Kohls, more than likely will have to close after some time. Here are some reasons (again just what I believe. As a business owner, heres what I see that could hurt me if I moved to this town. 1) Store is a little small for Kols 2) If Smithtown is complaining about traffic now, it will only increase with a store like this. 3) why would I move into this town when it is about to reduce possible customer traffic flow by reducing traffic lanes. Plan is one lane west bound, thats at least 25%possible business loss right there due to traffic going elsewhere to avoid the jam. 3) round abouts or no left turns make it hard for customers to get to any building on main street. In short again as a business owner knowing what this town is about to do to this road makes it very un attractive, I would have to wait till all road designs were complete, and property values fall this way I can than come in with a cost that is more reachable with the corrected traffic flow.
R U Kidding January 16, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Whats crazy is that they plan to reduce lanes into and out of Smithtown (are you kidding) That will make it harder for any company to survive here. Yes it is a shame that people have lost there lives on Main Street, but people are getting hit on one lane roads also. Pedestrian Safety, I have yet to read any article regarding a pedestrian dying due to walking in the crosswalk with the light, its all been jaywalking. So because of this we need to reduce the lanes down to one in town, Just what the local economy needed (25% less possible business going elsewhere to avoid this traffic). Recently read the story of a fire at Artful design, little damage, thankfully the town has not put the raised median in otherwise Smithtown would be replacing several stores. Not just that when they do put up that raised median all them EMERGENCY VEHICHLES will not be able to get to the emergency or to the hospital fast enough, therefor more people will die per year. It makes sense lets put more peoples lives in harms way. Please dont let anyone get hit by 111 and needs medical attention, wont be able to get there fast enough once that happens. Read an article recently that lane reduction harms 80% of the businesses, Yep another great idea here folks. Live north of 25, better start complaing because your commute is about to double come Feb when they reduce West Bound lanes by 1 from !!! to New YOrk Avenue, Hey by the way they reduce the lanes by Calleb park, still bad crashes, it failed.
ROBERT G January 16, 2012 at 02:10 PM
main st does have a number of fine restaurants,,,,,,but it still is a disgrace. 2 fine restaurants do not change the general appearance of thr\e area
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) January 16, 2012 at 10:07 PM
All this while we spend $12 Million annually on the Smithtown Library wich is nothing more than an old book repository. If anyone would take the time to analyze this entity as I have it would be closed tomorrow a vacancy worth having. Also seems that all local government building are well maintained.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) January 16, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Let me also add if the leadership is ok with Smithtown being economically unviable then their pay should commensurate. Using my cell phone so expect spelling errors
We Heart Long Island January 17, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I assume you don't use the library.
We Heart Long Island January 17, 2012 at 01:34 AM
???? you just agreed "the Smithtown Library wich is nothing more than an old book repository"
We Heart Long Island January 17, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I didn't say you said you didn't use it. Someone posted "they are nothing more than an old book repository. It should be closed" You said you agree 100%. Then you said" it's state of the art". I just asked which is it. Sorry you're confused. I think you have some anger issues. I believe you said ghetto not me. Seems like you're the nasty one.
We Heart Long Island January 17, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Is this the positive light? Thanks
We Heart Long Island January 17, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Watched movies from the balcony. Shopped at Billy Blakes. Actually I marched in the Tri-centennial parade in 1965. I've been here 60 years. I agree Main street is run down. I think we should have 1 lane each way. Westbury as an example. When someone says we should close a library I think that will just make things worse.
KPLifer January 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM
The librarys are a total waste of Money. It is a shame the smithtown residents dont vote for this stuff. They barely come out for a general election.
KPLifer January 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM
You are the most negative person that posts on this board.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) January 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Many of you are aware that we spend $12,000,000 on the library aka old book repository but do we need as part of that expenditure over $2,500,000 reference libertarians? Smithtown is falling apart and we spend millions on librarians? On a seperate note I do not share the view that local pols are responsible for private buildings on mail street and agree with Jason Feinman. Smithtown is an old town layed out long before any current town pols were elected but as the towns fortunes wane so should we eliminate large parasitic entities starting with the Library
We Heart Long Island January 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Apparently we do. That's what it cost.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) January 20, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I was interested in this topic having eaten at the Thai house and note that it is very good loved the cashew chicken
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) January 20, 2012 at 01:19 AM
No, the vote to expand the library was a Rig*ed SC*M and apparently the budget process is flawed and valuable resources squandered on this old book repository. As noted by some on this site many don't vote and those that do have a vested interest and direct benefit in the entity passing it's budget. If that changes all future Smithtown Library budgets will fail and ultimately a new slat of trustees will be elected to reform, consolidate and close branches.
rOBIN mAGLIATO January 21, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Smithtown Resident . I agree Vecchio must go . He has done nothing in the passed 18 years to help this town. A main street is not just good restaurants. You need other shops, friendly parking , and a town that works to bring that. Smithtown has many residents that don't vote and therefore don't care
Sara January 23, 2012 at 09:03 PM
That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
E Baum March 06, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Parking is a critcal issue. We love the Thai House, but where does one park? All the stores need acessible parking as was created behind Butera's. Also, I seem to recall that rather recently a little eatery was about to open on lawrence Ave????? but before it even opened, it closed up because dealing with "the town" was too difficult. Smithtown must be more business friendly with peermits, paperwork and parking.
E Baum March 06, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Geeeze, such vitriol about the library. At least you can cast a vote at budget time. It really seems to service an awful lot of our community members and has a lot more things going on than just housing "old" books. Get your money's worth and try using what the library has to offer.

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