Column | Because sometimes it takes a village: Local diner says, “We need your help!”

Next Friday it looks like I will again be able to enjoy a breakfast of biscuits and gravy from Village Deli on Kirkwood Avenue.

A temporary shutdown was supposed to go through Sept. 1. There was no word as that date came and went, so speculation had tended towards permanent closure.

But in a Facebook post this past Friday morning, the diner announced an attempted re-opening on a limited basis starting Sept. 17.

According to the Facebook post, online orders only will be taken on Fridays, with full table service for “very limited seating” to be offered on Saturdays and Sundays.

The missing ingredient for a more ambitious re-opening is staff. The Facebook post invites people to apply for positions online.  As of Sunday morning, the Facebook post has been shared 120 times. That’s a measure of the affection Bloomington has for the place.

Lots of folks don’t hang out on Facebook. If you have a network that includes folks looking for work, please help spread the word.

And to be clear, it’s not just Village Deli that needs more staff.

I think the next several months could help decide what Bloomington’s retail and restaurant landscape looks like in the downtown area through the mid-2020s.

On Sunday morning, a quick lap around the courthouse square and down Kirkwood Avenue confirmed that Village Deli is not the only place looking for help. Here’s a list of the 14 places I saw with help-wanted signs or notices about staff shortages: B-Town Diner; Baked!; Cafe Pizzaria; The Indiana Store; Nick’s; Five Guys; Noodles and Company; Soma; CVS; Pili’s Party Taco & Deli; Bub’s; Bloomington Bagel Company; B-Town Smoke Time; and Taco Bell.

And I know there’s plenty more places looking for help that don’t happen to have a sign posted on their front window. One of those is my favorite place of all: Function Brewing. From their Facebook post a week ago,  “The position requires multitasking, efficiency, precision, and the ability to follow directions independently. Prior kitchen experience is a plus but not required as this can be a good first kitchen job.” Continue reading “Column | Because sometimes it takes a village: Local diner says, “We need your help!””

No formal bids for parking garage ground-floor retail, but econ development director says: “I am confident that the spaces will be appealing.”

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No formal bids were received by the city of Bloomington for the leases of the ground floor space in either of the two parking garages that are now under construction.

That was the anticlimactic news from Monday’s meeting of the city’s redevelopment commission (RDC).

One of the garages is on Fourth Street, to open in August. The other is northwest of city hall in the Trades District, set to open towards the end of March.

The lack of bids is not a setback, according to city’s director of economic and sustainable development Alex Crowley.

Crowley told The Square Beacon after the RDC meeting, “I’m not actually fazed by the lack of bids.”

One reason Crowley is not concerned by the lack of offers is that advertising for bids is a legally required procedure that the RDC has to follow. It was not, as Crowley put it, “a highly visible/marketed listing.”

Crowley continued, “I’m sure we’ll get more interest once we start marketing the spaces.” He added, “I am confident that the spaces will be appealing, especially as things start to settle down from the pandemic.” Continue reading “No formal bids for parking garage ground-floor retail, but econ development director says: “I am confident that the spaces will be appealing.””