Big business bad for Dinkytown

Farewell Purple Onion and shame on the greedy real estate developers.

After 13 years of business on the corner of 14th Avenue and Fouth Street Southeast, the Purple Onion is changing locations. The change, however, is not merely a simple move but rather a symptom of larger issues in Dinkytown.

First, it must be said that the Purple Onion coffee shop is a landmark in the Dinkytown neighborhood. Scores and scores of University students have spent their University careers reading, studying, cramming and drinking coffee at the location since before many current students even thought of going to college. Quite simply, it’s sad to see the coffee shop with such character move.

It is appropriate to lament this event because of what is happening to the Dinkytown community. What once was a thriving bastion of student-friendly locally owned businesses now is slowly turning into a haven for corporate chains. Pretty soon there will be nothing “dinky” about the beloved neighborhood right next to the University campus.

The problem in Dinkytown stems from the fact that the owners of the real estate in the neighborhood are acquiescing to the larger sums of money that big businesses are able to pay. While no one can blame them for trying to get the most profit from their property, the landlords should realize that it is detrimental to the community.

The owners of real estate in Dinkytown should realize that locally owned businesses make a community more vibrant and unique. Proof of this can already be seen in the Varsity Theatre renovation and the Steak Knife.

If real estate owners want more money, why stop at the Purple Onion? Why not buy out the Loring Pasta Bar and put in a Fazoli’s? Or worse yet, replace Big Al’s Breakfast with a Perkins; the Dinkytowner with a Hard Rock Café?

Patrons who believe in a diverse community should send a message to the chains infiltrating our neighborhood. We should prevent what’s already happened to downtown Minneapolis from happening in Dinkytown. Why live in a place that looks like everywhere else in the country?