Lakewood Renewal

When Carter was an itty bitty we used to spend lots of time at a children’s museum called Busy Street in Lakewood. The shopping area had seen better days and thus the rent was cheep for the non-profit that was set up as a miniature town, with a fire station, restaurant, doctors office and other fun stations for toddlers. It was a sad day when Busy Street closed when Carter was about four. It was the last time I had any reason to go to Lakewood until recently.

The neighborhood is in such close proximity to Duke and downtown it seems like a no brainer that it was due for renewal. Last year Phoebe Lawless opened the Lakewood and mini Scratch bakery in the old Davis Baking building. Coco Cinnamon opened another branch of its highly popular coffee shop across the street.

The big shopping center with practically an unlimited amount of parking is now ripe for improvement. The Dollar General and the Food Lion on one end are fine tenants, but not special. At the other end of the big center is the new home of the Scrap Exchange which was priced out of downtown. It’s end of the shopping center has been renamed as the reuse arts center. The inexpensive rents attracted a small business called Freeman’s Creative a crafts supply business. It is just the kind of small business that the area needs.

A young woman opened the fabric, yarn and arts store with the idea to have classes in fabric and fiber arts. There are a group of sewing machines in the back where a fiber artist was working when I visited the store yesterday. I purchased some fabric to add to my quilting stash. I am ever hopeful that people will find these kinds of businesses early enough for them to take hold and stay in business.

If you are a knitter, quilter, seamstress or someone who wants to learn to be any of these stop by and visit the Freeman’s Creative. They have a little section of artist made crafts for sale, which make unique gifts. It takes us supporting these local businesses to help turn areas around. If this business can succeed it will attract others and you might just learn to make something cute.

One Comment on “Lakewood Renewal”

  1. dee7064 says:

    Way back when in 1969, Lord, it’s hard for me to even realize that it’s been almost 50 years, I moved to Durham. Forest Hills and Lakewood were THE shopping centers. I know South Square wasn’t there, and I don’t think Northgate was either. Please don’t quote me on either of those dates! Anyway, I loved shopping at Lakewood. It was Jewelsmith’s first spot!! And Louis was one of Linda’s best customers back then, back before she got so “famous”! Ha!! And Davis Bakery was the only place in town you ever wanted/got anything “special”. There was a movie center there too—-the only one of two in Durham (the other being downtown). As the years progressed, and as the neighborhood surrounding Lakewood changed, so did the beginning of its demise. I was saddened, as it was truly a “neighborhood” shopping center. And so convenient to where we lived too. Rockwood had only the Big Star Grocery and The Dairy Bar, plus a few small enterprises. Forest Hills had a grocery, which I don’t remember which chain, a pharmacy, a laundry, two service stations, and CCB Bank. Maybe a few more small endeavors, but I don’t remembe them at all. Anyway, Lakewood was where I headed several times a week, in those days when our girls were so very young—in the 70’s and early 80’s. Then Durham exploded and so many other places opened up for us. Ninth Street became the “happening place”, Raleigh became the place to shop. Chapel Hill became the place to eat. And we were right in between both—lucky us!! But my heart still loved and believed in Lakewood, but it was beginning a slow death and lingering behind others who were embracing a new and exciting era—and a new century. So now, low these many 25(?) years later, I’m thrilled to hear that Lakewood is rising again like the Phoenix! Although we moved away from Durham 18 years ago, I’m so happy for the people who live near, and take advantage of, a small, neighborhood shopping center. The traffic, hardship, and sprawl of large shopping centers, leave me cold and indifferent. So kudos to Lakewood and the generous people who support it!’ Like their story of the tortoise and the hare, we all know which one endures the race and WINS!! I look forward to coming back and revisiting Lakewood Shopping Center!!👍👍

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