TOP Nails is latest addition at Arsenal Street plaza

Cici Le and Lyna Vo, co-owners of the new Top Nails Salon on Arsenal Street, pose for a photo in the massage/pedicure area of the salon. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Cici Le and Lyna Vo, co-owners of the new Top Nails Salon on Arsenal Street, pose for a photo in the massage/pedicure area of the salon. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

WATERTOWN — As the latest addition to the Top of the Square Plaza, TOP Nails has set out to become the premiere salon in the city for manicures, pedicures, waxing and eyelash extensions. [Read more…]

Papa John’s is latest tenant to leave Arsenal Street plaza

Papa John’s and Beyond Nerd recently moved out of the Top of the Square Plaza, and New York Fashions will be gone by the month’s end. But owner Brian H. Murray said he nevertheless is feeling upbeat about the plaza’s future.

A new sign featuring businesses that was installed about two weeks ago in front of the plaza is expected to draw more traffic, said Mr. Murray, who owns the bottom half of the building at 146 Arsenal St., below the Convergys call center.

Papa John’s moved out of the building at the start of the week, said Mr. Murray, owner of Washington Street Properties in Watertown. The Beyond Nerd electronics store moved out of its space at the end of December, but it still sells trading cards at a kiosk inside the minimall portion of the plaza facing Court Street.

New York Fashions, a clothing boutique, will move out by the end of the month and will relocate by March to Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, the store’s owner confirmed Wednesday. And Calvary Chapel North Country, which has rented space since May 2014 at the minimall in the plaza, plans to relocate to the former Globe MiniMall building at 302 Court St. this year; the building’s California owner decided last year to donate the building to the church.

Mr. Murray said Wednesday that he is not concerned about the relatively high turnover the plaza has had recently.

“We’re having some turnover in the space right now, but I do think the building improvements are going to make a big difference,” he said.

He said he was not given an explanation from Papa John’s about why the pizza franchise left the plaza, and he hopes another restaurant will move into the vacated spot.

“We’ve had a few tentative inquiries, and we’re optimistic we’ll get someone in there,” he said.

The new sign in front of the plaza entrance, which lists business names, is expected to increase traffic, Mr. Murray said. In the fall, a new sign also was installed on the Court Street side of the building by the same contractor, Kassis Superior Signs of Syracuse. He said a total of about $10,000 was spent on the two signs.

“The new sign on Arsenal Street is going to help people with spaces in the mall, in addition to signage at the mall entrance,” Mr. Murray said. “That’s going to help because customers can find places easier now. It’s such a heavily trafficked thoroughfare along Arsenal Street that there’s a lot of value having the signage out there.”

Alethia M. Lewis, owner of New York Fashions, said Wednesday that she decided to move out of the plaza due to the challenge of drawing customers in the downtown area. She said people don’t generally think of downtown as being a shopping destination.

“I’m moving out of this space because there’s no traffic here,” said Ms. Lewis, who opened the store in August 2012. “People who come here aren’t looking to shop but to do business. They go to Family Dollar or the bank. I’ve been here almost two years now and people don’t come.”

She added that Washington Street Properties increased the monthly rent in July from $700 to $1,170, which doesn’t include utilities.

“That’s another reason I decided to move out,” she said. “I chose Destiny USA because there’s a lot more traffic. The rent is only a little bit higher, but I’ll pay basically the same amount because utilities are included.”

Brad S. Walls, manager of Beyond Nerd, said the electronics side of the business was discontinued when it moved out of its space in the minimall at the end of December. The business, which has two employees including him, now sells only trading cards for Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering.

Mr. Walls said the business, which opened in April 2012, saved “a large amount” by moving out of its former space and operating only the kiosk.

“The cards sold better than our services and we didn’t need the whole store,” he said.

Other tenants in the plaza are Family Dollar, Jiu-Jitsu Nation, Carthage Savings & Loan Association and Rhonda’s FooteWorks.



By Ted Booker, Times Staff Writer