Daytona Beach business owners would like a say in redevelopment.
While much of Main Street in Daytona Beach looks like a party just ended, with its empty storefronts, there’s life on the street. You can hear its heartbeat at night. It’s the sound of the blues and rock music in the nightclubs; and the karaoke, DJs and live musicians at the restaurants.
Some business owners on the street say the music scene should be used as the basis for revitalizing Main Street and that the city should work with them rather than wait for someone outside the area to do the job.
Phaedra Lee, managing partner at Main Street Station, says an arts district should be encouraged.
“Look at Flagler Avenue,” she said. “They’ve done a great job integrating night life and the arts. It’s a balancing act.”
“It’s difficult but we’re trying to get people to understand that Main Street is not just for bikers, it’s for everyone.”
GERRI SHOAF, Sunsetters Riverfront Bar and Grill
Gerri Shoaf, owner of Sunsetters Riverfront Bar and Grill on the west end of Main Street, said business owners are trying to build up Main Street and get rid of the “deserted” image.
“It’s difficult, but we’re trying to get people to understand that Main Street is not just for bikers, it’s for everyone,” she said. “A lot of businesses are not open during the day, but music is everywhere on Main Street.”
Sunsetters features singles or duos playing everything from folk to classic rock, and on Wednesday the restaurant has open mic night, where people can play anything, or even perform a spoken word poem.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said.
Shoaf and Lee both said the city should work with the businesses on events in the area, such as the Food Truck Rally.
“The city needs to partner with us and have more events,” Lee said “That’s what we do.”
Main Street Station has events such as Rum Fest where attendees dressed like pirates. Their November calendar shows a variety of live bands and even a “You Paint We Pour” night.
THE HOMELESS ISSUE
Crusin Café, a motorsports-themed restaurant at the corner of State Road A1A, has a DJ who plays music and organizes karaoke Wednesday through Sunday.
Manager Melanie Hirth said the biggest problem in the area is the number of homeless. She has lived in the area for 22 years, she said, and the transients have become a problem over the past five years.
“They need to do something,” she said. “I used to love it on the beachside.”
Lee also said homeless people soliciting pedestrians on the sidewalk is a problem.
For safety, Shoaf said people should walk around the area in groups.
Lyda Longa, spokeswoman for Daytona Beach Police Department, called Main Street “pretty safe.”
“Like in any city, I would not be walking alone in dark, desolate areas,” she said.
A review of police reports for a four-week period, Aug. 20 through Sept. 16, showed no robberies, assaults or car break-ins on Main Street. There were five drug-alcohol violations on Main Street and three nearby on Oleander Avenue. There was a disturbance of the peace on Oleander Avenue.
‘NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT THIS PLACE’
Chris Jarnagin, who manages Bank and Blues Club and Dirty Harry’s for Doan Management, said it’s a challenge to attract new customers to the nightclubs on Main Street, because of its “biker” reputation.
“There’s a stigma,” he said. “People are afraid of the area.”
But he said new customers are “blown away” by what they find when they come to one of the clubs.
“We’re normal neighborhood bars,” he said.
The Bank and Blues Club was a concert venue for several years but has been open on Saturday nights for a few months. Jarnagin said they plan to expand to Friday nights. Dirty Harry’s has a DJ and karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.
Lee also said new customers at Main Street Station are pleasantly surprised.
She often hears comments such as, “Nobody told me about this place,” she said.
Lee also points out the historic nature of some of the locations. Main Street Station is located in the garage that was owned by NASCAR founder Bill France. Boot Hill Saloon is world famous.
“People wear Boot Hill Saloon T-shirts all over the world,” she said.
“We’re normal neighborhood bars.”
CHRIS JARNAGIN, nightclub manager on Main Street