View Full Version : Laughing Fish- more Bricktown retail going under..



metro
12-21-2006, 01:08 PM
Longtime Bricktown retailer to sell out
Friday auction blamed on parking, sales drop

By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

A veteran Bricktown retailer has closed its doors, and contents will be auctioned Friday.
The Laughing Fish opened in summer of 2000, just a year after the opening of the Bricktown Canal and was one of the district's oldest retailers.

Owner Stephen Wistrand blamed the closing on parking availability and prices, echoing complaints voiced earlier this year when owners of Boone's General Store closed their Bricktown gift shop.

"The parking situation has really been a detriment to them, auctioneer Louis Dakil said.

Wistrand said business in Bricktown was good when he first opened the store.

"For the past six months, it was off quite a bit, Wistrand said. "But my Crossroads Mall store has been doing better each year.

Dakil said the auction will include everything in the store from the gift shop inventory of clothing and souvenirs to store fixtures, furniture and vendor carts. Inspection and registration will begin at 9 a.m. with the auction following at 10 a.m.

Wistrand thinks retail won't thrive in Bricktown unless a developer provides space for a critical mass of stores to operate and parking accommodations are improved.

"I'm really sorry to see someone of Laughing Fish's tenure in Bricktown come to an end, said Frank Sims, director of the Bricktown Association. "Certainly in checking with what other limited retailers we have in Bricktown, I'm getting very positive responses.

Sims acknowledged complaints continue about parking in Bricktown, and his association is discussing ways to address the public's concerns.

Sims said The Painted Door had good sales and is thriving with Christmas shoppers, and Oklahoma Native Art and Jewelry just renewed its lease despite a slowdown during the past few months.

"That's a statement to me that small retail can succeed here, Sims said. "Steve has the same product at Crossroads Mall as he does here. It's an incidental shop, not a destination shop. In my mind, Oklahoma Native Art and Jewelry and The Painted Door are destination shops for locals and are very friendly with pedestrian traffic.

traxx
12-21-2006, 01:43 PM
Hate to see anytime a business downtown closes its doors, but as I recall Laughing Fish had an odd location with odd merchandise. I often wondered how they stayed in business down there. Maybe their product is better suited for the kind of clientele that frequent Crossroads.

Karried
12-21-2006, 02:16 PM
What? They sell AK-47's? LOL

( Inside joke )

Easy180
12-21-2006, 02:31 PM
Actually I'm not surprised they closed in Bricktown

All I have ever seen in Bricktown is pimps, con artists, illegal immigrants and even worse clowns making balloon animals!

I will never go back....Until this weekend

( Good one Karried)

writerranger
12-21-2006, 02:41 PM
I think the owner of the Laughing Fish pretty well summed it up. Retail will never be successful in a big way in Bricktown until there is dedicated space and easy parking for our car culture. Maybe some kind of indoor/outdoor Galleria is the way to go. No, it's not NYC or downtown Chicago, but it may be the only thing that works in Bricktown. BTW, the Laughing Fish had some decent product - it's improved much in the last few years. I find this a sad development for Bricktown. Pretty sad when all we can toot our horn for, retail-wise, in Bricktown are a couple of stores that are very nichy (sp?), granted, as was The Laughing Fish. We need IDEAS! I'm afraid for retail to succeed in Bricktown it's going to have to be more suburbany than the urban retail paradise most of us would like. Thoughts? Maybe we need a thread just for ideas on retail development in Bricktown.

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BDP
12-22-2006, 12:08 PM
What!? How is this possible? We have a Bass Pro to anchor bricktown retail. What more do we need?? ;)



etail won't thrive in Bricktown unless a developer provides space for a critical mass of stores to operate

Man, if only we had an empty swath of land near bricktown that could be enhanced by the city and given to a developer to build a mall or plaza with a dense amount of storefronts that could house a wide variety of retailers. Maybe even build it on the canal...

oh wait... too late.

AFCM
12-22-2006, 03:54 PM
What!? How is this possible? We have a Bass Pro to anchor bricktown retail. What more do we need?? ;)



Man, if only we had an empty swath of land near bricktown that could be enhanced by the city and given to a developer to build a mall or plaza with a dense amount of storefronts that could house a wide variety of retailers. Maybe even build it on the canal...

oh wait... too late.


(Sips beer)
Yup.





(Sips beer)
Yep.





Mmmhmm.

fsusurfer
12-23-2006, 12:03 AM
I talked to the managers of the Painted Door a couple weeks ago. She said the only way they keep the place open is because it is connected with Nona's. She said if it wasnt for that, they'd have been gone a long time ago.

BG918
12-26-2006, 12:33 AM
Maybe develop more retail along Sheridan and Reno avenues? That would take care of some of those parking lots in Lower Bricktown along Reno, having one or two story retail storefronts facing Reno with on-street parallel parking. Develop the same thing along Sheridan that coexists with the restaurants. Plenty of parking available on the street and behind the retail, or build another garage for LB so the other lots down there can be developed, especially the one in front of Bass Pro.

BDP
12-26-2006, 11:26 AM
interesting ideas, but I think that, ultimately, Bass Pro's position will prevent that lot from being developed. They placed the store front perpendicular to Reno, not on it, so any development on that lot would block it's front entrance and exposure to traffic on Reno. I don't think it was planned for that lot to be anything other than block top lining the canal. If ever, I think it will be last spot redeveloped in LB, unfortunately.

jbrown84
12-26-2006, 11:57 AM
It doesn't have to face Reno. Build a plaza along the little mini-canal/creek with retail on either side leading to the anchor store Bass Pro at the end of the plaza. The retail can face both the center plaza as well as Reno and the future Boulevard (if it's ground level at that point). Just like a mall is laid out with Penney's or Dillards at the end of a long row of shops.

Patrick
12-26-2006, 12:05 PM
I'm not really surprised Laughing Fish closed. And it wasn't the product that was bad either. They had a lot of local Oklahoma merchandise, OU-OSU merchandise, etc. They also sold hip clothing for the females making up the creative class.

Location might have been a detriment. No one really walks over on that side of the canal unless they're going to Zios.

The Native American jewelry store has a better location, that catches the majority of visitors to the canal.

And I don't buy the parking excuse. Every downtown in America charges for parking. Last time I was in San Antonio, I had to pay $9 to park my car. And the shops on the Riverwalk didn't have their own parking lots.

jbrown84
12-26-2006, 12:41 PM
I don't buy the parking excuse either. No one was ever going to drive to Bricktown to park and visit Laughing Fish, but left because they couldn't find parking for free 100 feet away.

The location was too out of the way. period. Too bad they couldn't hold out until those building undergo renovation very soon. (is that still happening?)

writerranger
12-26-2006, 02:24 PM
I don't buy the parking excuse either. No one was ever going to drive to Bricktown to park and visit Laughing Fish, but left because they couldn't find parking for free 100 feet away.
The location was too out of the way. period. Too bad they couldn't hold out until those building undergo renovation very soon. (is that still happening?)

I think the dedicated retail area with parking would make a big difference. I don't think it was a matter of free versus pay parking as much as nobody was going to drive to Bricktown and park to go to The laughing Fish period. That location caught a lot of their business from the in and out traffic at Zio's. If there was a concentrated area of retail with easy parking (free or not) we would have the beginning of retail success with what the owner of Laughing Fish called a, "critical mass of stores." A little shop here and a little shop there won't bring people with retail dollars to spend to Bricktown.

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jbrown84
12-26-2006, 02:58 PM
I don't think it was a matter of free versus pay parking as much as nobody was going to drive to Bricktown and park to go to The laughing Fish period.

Exactly. I'm saying that they didn't lose customers because they couldn't park right there next to it or they couldn't park free or whatever it is he's trying to blame it on. The problem is that no one knew it was there. There isn't much traffic on the south side of the canal past Zio's, and other than Chelino's patio, you probably wouldn't see if from the north side either.

Patrick
12-26-2006, 03:13 PM
I agree with writerranger on one thing....we need a dedicated area for retail. Then people would know shops were there.

The new owner of the property across from JDM place plans to dedicate his proposed buildings to mostly retail. It's going to take a row of two or three shops to get the ball rolling.

Here's an idea.......where the Bass Pro Parking lot fronts the canal, why not replace it with a strip of shops, fronting the canal? And people can park in the Bass Pro lot. Randy Hogan, are you listening?

Patrick
12-26-2006, 03:15 PM
Anyone know how Firefly is doing? That seems to be a pretty good location.

jbrown84
12-26-2006, 03:16 PM
Definitely a much better location.

BailJumper
12-26-2006, 03:23 PM
I don't shop at Firefly (nothing in my size!) but I never see anybody in there. I often wonder if they are staying in business out of spite.

We often park in the small lot to the East of their location. My wife has been in twice. The last time she asked the little girl behind the counter and she said business is dead.

I agree though, it is a good location.

Patrick
12-26-2006, 03:27 PM
I think the owner of Laughing Fish had the right set-up. A mall location to cover him during the winter months, co-existing with his Bricktown location. Or gift shops connected to restaurants.

Maybe Cracker Barrell has the right idea. I'm not adovcating a Cracker Barrell in Bricktown, but maybe more restaurants need to open up co-existing gift shops.

Chelinos could lease the canal level location next door and open up a store selling Hispanic memoribilia, hot sauce, etc......similar to the store Ted's used to have.

One of the sports bars could open up a store selling just sports clothing, OU-OSU, etc.

Etc. Etc.

Patrick
12-26-2006, 03:30 PM
I think we need an Oklahoma Store. The canal is mostly geared for tourists......where is a store where you can buy red earth stuff, OU-OSU shirts, Sooner memoribilia, etc. I think the reason the Native American store does so well is because Native American merchandise is what the tourist is looking for. Tourists aren't looking for hip clothing. They looking for souvenirs.

When I went to Santa Fe this past summer, I wasn't looking for clothing. I was looking for Mexican rugs and blankets, Santa Fe Christmas ornaments, post cards, handmade Spanish and torquise jewlery, etc.

jbrown84
12-26-2006, 03:31 PM
Good idea about connected restaurants and shops.

Apparently it doesn't help the Painted Door much, though.

dismayed
12-26-2006, 07:37 PM
What kind of clothes do they sell at Firefly?

metro
12-27-2006, 02:09 PM
Uber hip womens clothing, jeans, shirts, etc. It's a nice store.

On Laughing Fish, some of it was location, but they've been there for years. I think part of it may have had something to do with the buildings new owners plans to renovate it into something else......

jbrown84
12-27-2006, 03:32 PM
I was wondering if we might have another Queen Ann situation here...