Friday, July 3, 2009

Miller Avenue, Part 2

This is Part 2 of our look at Miller Avenue in Mill Valley. Let's start with Whole Foods, which is the main anchor store that draws a lot of shoppers to the area. How important WF is for the viability of Miller Avenue may be tested in the future if the company decides to shutter the store after opening its new MV location at the Alto Center next year. The Miller Ave store is the smallest Whole Foods store in the nation, but is believed to have one of the highest sales intensities (sales per square foot). The combined size of the old and new Mill Valley stores will be less than 40,000 sq.ft, which is the typical size of most new WF stores (such as the one in Novato), so I would expect that while it is not very efficient to operate two stores in the same market, there are enough dollars in southern Marin to keep both stores running profitably.
To the south of WF is the coolest furniture store in Marin: Design Within Reach.

Directly opposite Whole Foods, at 401 Miller is a commercial block that includes the Marin Theatre Company, Cactus Cafe, Jolly King Liquors, and to the rear, the unbeatable Mama's Royal Cafe.

Hidden away behind the Theatre Company is a small retail center that includes a General Hardware store, a small Sloat Garden Center, a deli and a nail salon. There's also the pet grooming store with the unforgettable name: Doggie Style.

It's a ramshackle little center that is earmarked for removal by the Miller Avenue Precise Plan. If that ever happens, it's unlikely that stores like General Hardware and the garden center would find alternative affordable sites in the Miller Avenue area.

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