Rediscovering Crestwood Station

Merchants prospering
despite lack of anchor store

By Ruth Wright
Contributing Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (Sept. 2002) – Crestwood Station, located on Hwy. 146, has seen busier days. The sign at the main entrance to the shopping center implores passersby to “Stop and Shop in Oldham County.”
Many Oldham County residents drive past the center each day on their way into Louisville toward convenient east end shopping centers. Popular venues such as Springhurst Towne Center and The Summit have sprung up in recent years, luring consumers into Jefferson County.

Crestwood Station

Crestwood Station in Crestwood, Ky.

And since the relocation of its anchor store, Wal-Mart, to Westport Road four years ago and the closing of Winn Dixie shortly thereafter, Crestwood Station’s business hasn’t been quite the same. Wal-Mart moved to its current East Jefferson County location to open a Supercenter with a grocery store, according to Danny Cox of Center Services, Inc., the company that manages Crestwood Station.
“They couldn’t really do that with Winn Dixie there,” explained Cox, who is in charge of leasing. Due to corporate restructuring, the Winn Dixie grocery store later closed its doors in Crestwood Station. Now, with both anchor stores still unoccupied, Center Services faces the challenge of attracting at least two major businesses to fill the vacancies.
Lately, business has been picking up. Cox says that both of the larger spaces are being marketed with potential clients in mind. And recently, two new small businesses, The Art Studio and Sisters, have opened their doors.
The Art Studio, owned and operated by Robin Tillman, Bonnie LeCompte and Bob Bryant, offers a variety of art classes for children and adults. The three first considered the idea of opening a studio when they noticed a need in the community for art classes for home-schooled students. Tillman and LeCompte, each of whom earned a Fine Arts degree from Murray State University, were already running The Art Bus, a creative arts program aimed at home schooled children.
The Art Studio is an expansion of that program, with a permanent location and access to a broader section of the community. Bryant, who has a master’s degree from the University of Louisville and also teaches art at Buckner Elementary, joined LeCompte and Tillman in the venture.
The partners have high hopes for their success at Crestwood Station. “We wanted an east end location,” explained Tillman, who lives in Jefferson County. With easy access from I-71, the group feels that the location at Crestwood Station will draw Jefferson County as well as Oldham County patrons.
“We’ve had a good response from Louisville,” Tillman said.
Sisters, located adjacent to The Art Studio, is owned by Connie Young. As the name implies, Sisters primarily caters to women and girls, specializing in unique accessories and gifts.
Regarding the shop’s focus and east end location, Young said, “I just wanted it to be a fun place for women. You know, you don’t have to go all the way to the mall to buy a nice gift or pick up something special for yourself.”
Jefferson County resident Donna Hirst, who recently made a trip to Oldham County to visit Sisters, admitted that it had been a while since she had been to Crestwood Station. Hirst heard about the shop from a friend who lives close by.
In addition to unique gifts and accessories, Sisters also sells materials for constructing praise and worship banners and glory rings. Young offers workshops for those who want to learn how to make their own banner from scratch.
Current occupants of Crestwood Station are pleased to see new businesses move in and hope that increased traffic flow will stimulate business for existing shops.
Buy The Book owner Michelle Scannell said that the shopping center has much more to offer than may first meet the eye. Scannell explained that she tells her customers to “take a look and see what’s here,” directing her patrons to the other businesses located in the center.
Scannell has a point. Despite the absence of huge retail stores Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie, the center is still occupied by numerous small businesses including doctor’s offices, a drug store, a restaurant, a pre-school, a coin laundry and many others.
Walter Stone has operated Crestwood Coin Laundry at the shopping center for eight years. Stone says that 2001 was his best year yet, despite economic uncertainty, and that 2002 will probably be as good if not better. Stone admits that losing two of the major tenants decreased overall activity at the center but says that his business continues to grow.
And the absence of Wal-Mart isn’t bothering Lane Craven too much. Craven owns and operates Advantage Motorcycle School. In addition to office space he leases at the center, Craven uses the empty parking lot in front of the old Wal-Mart building as a training course for his riding school.
Craven’s school is part of the Kentucky Motorcycle Program provided through the Transportation Cabinet’s Division of Driver Licensing. Students who successfully complete the basic riders course with AMS have the motorcycle license skill test waived. Craven has been at Crestwood Station for a year and said that he is pleased with the location.
Officials with the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce and the Oldham County Economic Development Authority say they are pleased to see new business move into Oldham County, which was ranked as Kentucky’s wealthiest county in recently released U.S. Census Bureau figures based on median household income in 1999. These groups would like to see a little more of the wealth spread around local communities, including Crestwood, Prospect and La Grange.
If recent events are any indication, then Crestwood Station will continue to play a part in making that happen.

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