A trio of new businesses are moving into a long-vacant strip mall in the Point Place section of Toledo, giving locals hope that a commercial rebirth could be in the works for the lakeside community.
Within the next two months, a hardware store, vintage shop, and art, craft, and antiques mall will open at what was formerly Marina Plaza, a multiunit shopping plaza at 4441 N. Summit St. just north of Detwiler Park Golf Course.
Debbie Speegle and Kellie Schlachter have leased three of the revamped building’s retail units, where they will open Lighthouse Landing Art, Antique, and Craft Mall.
The women also have leased the facility’s 5,800-square-foot banquet hall and are building a community garden to the rear of the building.
“We’re trying to drive business growth as other people are, [and] to create a destination area in Point Place,” said Ms. Schlachter, who grew up in Point Place and currently lives there.
Ms. Schlachter said Lighthouse Landing has about 50 vendors right now and has room for more. The business opens for the first time Sunday.
Work is also under way to bring a hardware store back to Point Place.
For 50 years, the North Toledo community had been served by Ace Hardware, but the store closed in November. At the time, the owners cited a poor economy and personal circumstances.
By mid-July, Point Place should have its Ace back, as the owner of Ace Hardware in Sylvania is opening a second store next door to the antiques store.
“The community wants it,” said Brian Yeager, manager of the Sylvania store. “The community wants the store back. They’re very excited when they started to hear we’re coming.”
The hardware store will be roughly the same size as its Sylvania sister, which is about 7,000 square feet. Mr. Yeager said he believes it will be successful, in large part because of their focus on customer service.
“You end up learning people by name. You’re able to help them based on their projects. They come in and look for you because they know they’re going to be taken care of,” he said.
A third business called True Vintage also will open soon in the complex.
The shopping plaza had been vacant for several years. Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz said the previous owner stopped paying his property taxes years ago, leading the treasurer's office to declare him delinquent in 2008. The Lucas County Land Bank acquired the property out of foreclosure in July.
The land bank sold the property to a local developer that same month. Mr. Kapszukiewicz said that’s exactly the mission of the land bank.
“The purpose of the land bank is to acquire vacant and abandoned blights throughout our community and turn them back into productive use,” he said.
With recent improvements at nearby Cullen Park and more concentrated efforts to market the area as a destination, Ms. Schlachter thinks the business is well suited to succeed.
“It was just the right time to make the decision to go into business for ourselves, and the right time for the community,” she said. “There’s a lot going on there.”
Jim Nowak, president of the Point Place Business Association, said Point Place’s promoters are trying to build it up as a vacation-type spot. The area has yacht clubs, shoreline, and bird-watching that Mr. Nowak said rivals Ottawa County.
He said Lighthouse Landing should benefit from those efforts.
“We want to make that whole area more of a tourist-type area. I think that’s a real good fit for trying to do those things,” he said.
Ms. Schlachter said she and Ms. Speegle plan to operate a farmer’s market on Thursdays and Sundays. They’ve been pleased with the community garden. Ms. Schlachter said all but four of the 21 four-foot-by-eight-foot plots have been rented.
“We’re trying to create a place for the community to come and eat and shop and enjoy the gardens and the water and everything Point Place has to offer,” she said.