This morning I walked downtown to Starbucks for coffee. The cool morning air and the quiet allowed me to think and observe as I walked through the center of the city of Walnut Creek.
When you walk by yourself before the hustle and bustle of the day it is amazing what you notice.
Walking past the new Cheesecake Factory I realized what a good decision was made by the city leadership to bring Cheesecake Factory to Walnut Creek. As I idled past the outdoor seating, men were spraying down the patio. The chairs were stacked on the tables. The ground was dark with the water on the stone patio.
The fountains in front of the Cheesecake Factory were babbling as water cascaded down their sides. The flame at the top danced in the wind.
It reminded me of Disneyland before the crowds arrive. Things are still fresh. The cafes are clean before the lunch crowds. It is as if you are walking into an alternate reality where messes aren’t made and people always get along.
I also noticed that the old Bombay store had a sign announcing that it had been leased. That must make the propertyowners very happy.
Of course, Neiman Marcus is still in process of coming to the old David M. Bryan location.
The Chocolate Cafe is now closed. It must be hard to compete with a national coffee chain and a national dessert restaurant a block away even though you are 30 yards from the theater’ entrance.
Johnny Rockets’ old store is still closed on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The tables and chairs are still inside but the sign out front has been removed.
A banner hanging from the Longs’ Drug store welcomed Elephant Pharmacy customers. The Elephant Pharmacy filed bankruptcy a few months ago, and has likely vacated their store.
Character of a City
While the shops and retailers in downtown Walnut Creek may change with time, the character of Walnut Creek does not have to change.
The character of a city is shaped by the character of the people that choose to live in a city, more than the character of the retailers in that city.
As long as honest, hard working, family loving, school supporting, community focused people continue to call Walnut Creek “home”, we won’t have to worry about Walnut Creek changing from the place we have come to love.
I think I will continue my Saturday morning walks, if only to get a better sense of the city I call “Home”.