Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Miller Valley Empties

So just what is the problem with Miller Valley Road? Is it a location! location! location! issue? All I am aware of is that there are a surprising number of empty business buildings between Gurley and Iron Springs Road. Likely all that commercial construction on SR 69 has simply swamped the region with an oversupply of retail, restaurant and other business locations. (There are even empties in the Prescott Gateway Mall.)

The one good piece of news for the Miller Valley area -- a new Chinese buffet will occupy the building (above) almost completely vacated by The Oak Tree, which has closed. Welcome news, if the food is as good as the buffet near Costco that shut its doors. Of course, this building was built as a restaurant originally. But the long-time El Chaparral Mexican food operation (below) is still sporting a "for sale" sign. It's been at least a year.

No activity at the empty gas station next to the True Value...

...and the ID's been stripped from the sign next door -- a sign that declared the pretty little building below to be a branch of the Stockman's Bank, swallowed up back a while in yet another mini-merger. I had always believed the Stockman's Bank, which survived the Depression, to be a keeper; guess I was wrong!

Saddest of all to me is that the old stone building on the east side of the street has been up for rent for such a long time. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to save the historic structure but they haven't managed to get a taker. I've always loved the way it is nestled into the granites, front and back (below.)

35 comments:

TomboCheck said...

Great pics. I grew up only a few blocks away from this area, and it brought back some memories to look at those. :)

From what i hear the new Hong Kong buffet on miller valley is half-owned by the same people as the now-closed china buffet.

El chaparrel was sold, at the same time as Taco Don's next door (you noticed they got a new sign right?), though the 'for sale' sign is still showing - so definitely mixed signals there.

The gas station I remember from when i was a kid as an actual gas station (76 station), instead of the quad and dirtbike shop that occupied the building for a few years before closing.

I'm sure that business will head back out that direction if/when the economy picks up. Pretty soon there won't be any difference between Prescott and Prescott Valley, and that side of town will become popular again. It has already started with the revitalization of the Ponderosa Plaza mall center (albiet; the walmart devil started that revitalization.)

Catalyst said...

That China Buffet that closed above Costco only re-located. It's now open in Prescott Valley as the Asian Buffet.

Granny J said...

Thanks, tombo, for the update & bit of recent history. It's always cool to hear from locals who've lived here a while...

Granny J said...

Good info to have, Cat-A. Tnx. The dotter will be happy to know this next time she's in town.

quilteddogs said...

Oh no! The chinese buffet near Costco closed?? We used to go there often in the summer. I hope the new one is as good.

sheoflittlebrain said...

Lets hope the new businesses at the Ponderosa Plaza mall will hang in as the economy takes a downswing! I'm doing my part to keep them going:)

I've always loved that old rock building too..

Granny J said...

QD -- Maybe Cat-A will give us a report...

brain -- what surprises me is that the businesses on Iron Springs Road keep chugging along, despite the infinite road widening project.

Catalyst said...

GJ & QD - SWMBO and I have visited the Asian Buffet in PV. It is the same as the former location above Costco. Food was great.

Granny J said...

Cat-A -- Tnx for the good report. Next time dotter is in town, we go there! She loved their sushi.

Melanie A. said...

Time was when El Chaparral was the place to be on Friday night! When I was a kid in the 1970's, we seemed to end up there every week, along with apparently everybody else in town, after browsing through Cornet (now True Value).

I think what's happened is that people can now drive downtown via Whipple Street and Gail Gardner Way. It used to be that, if you were coming from up Iron Springs or Willow Creek Roads, you had to endure the confusing Five Points Intersection and go down Miller Valley and Grove to get to Gurley Street. On that slow cruise you'd have plenty of time to notice the businesses alongside, and to patronize them.

Recall, too, that there weren't the big shopping centers in or outside town back then. The equivalents to Costco and WalMart were the then-newish Safeway (now Hastings Video) and Cornet.

I will really miss El Chaparral. If I could have it back, I'd like to see it in its mid-Seventies heyday, with black velvet paintings, flocked wallpaper, and an only-in-the-Southwest hybrid menu of Mexican and Chinese food.

Vicki Brannock said...

As an agent in Prescott I am very sorry to see many of the historical buildings discarded or the rent so outrageous that they are deteriorating. On a historical note: The little stone house you showed was owned by my partners grandfather. He secured the note with the collateral of "a saddle and tool chest"
Vicki

Granny J said...

melanie -- we moved here prior to all malls except for Ponderosa Plaza and the KMart Center, so I remember the Cornet store (we absolutely loved it -- owned by a family who lived in Nogales, as I recall.) I suppose if that threatened Yavapai Ranch development ever happens up in the top corner of the Big Chino, property along Miller Valley might boom again...if anybody has any water!

Granny J said...

Welcome, Vicki -- I couldn't agree more! I suppose that as long as Prescott is considered a Boom Town, those uneconomic rentals will continue to prevail. BTW, it's really cool to have people with roots here commenting about the local scene. Also: for the record, here's Vicki's URL.

Anonymous said...

Hello all,native here.The changes around here are something.I remember when we left are doors open when we left the house.I remember Walt's Coffee Shop where coffee was 21cents for two cups.Stan Stazenski was working for Mountain Bell and we just gave our keys to him so he could go inside and put our phones in.Those were the days.Have lots of great memories but I am looking for the date Cornet closed If someone knows.

Granny J said...

Hi, old-timer -- thanks for your memories. I recall that as a kid, we had to drive up US89 to get to the north country and that there was a saloon or some such at Glen Helen in the forest half-way to what's now Wilhoit. As for Cornet, it was here when we moved to these parts in 1981, 1st across from the Safeway on Goodwin St. & later at the location where the True Value is now located. Or was it where Hastings is now? Seems to me that it was gone by the 90s, tho I'm not really sure.

Anonymous said...

For all those that remember Cornet Store on Miller Valley Road. I worked there for three years,from 1989 to 1992, and I can tell you that Mr. Cornet built that building in April of 1966 and closed the store in 1996. I miss working there for it was a good company to work for. We had things that other stores in town did not have. Plus we had the snack bar that was the hit of the town. The company that was in the current Hastings video store, was Safeway then Yellow Front Store. They carried mostly auto, sporting goods and clothing. They moved downtown to Goodwin Street I think in the early 80's. But good old Cornet stayed true to its location for many years, despite TG&Y, were Walmart west is, and Kmart. Thanks for hearing me out.

Long missed Cornet employee

Granny J said...

thank you, old-timer #2, for your memories of the Cornet store. I hadn't realized that there was a Mr. Cornet! As I recall, there was also a Cornet store up in Williams.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. There was a Cornet up in Williams. Plus there was a store in Payson, Lake Havasu, Casa Grande, Parker, Wickenburg, Goodyear, Cedar City Utah, and Las Vegas. I do miss the store for we employees made it a family. Thanks again for hearing me out.

Granny J said...

I hadn't realized there were that many Cornet stores. Where did Mr. Cornet live?

Anonymous said...

sorry that I haven't responded sooner, Mr. Cornet lived in Pasadena, California. His son took over the company and shut it all down in 1995 thru 1996 due to economic slow down and the event of the big box stores. Anyway I do miss the company and my store here in Prescott. For like I said we employees made it fun and we all claimed each other as family.

Miss Cornet Store employee

Michael Hill said...

China Buffet is back and better than before behind costco.. The new Hong Kong Buffet will be a huge success as they are known in phoenix for there great quality and economic pricing..

Remember if you love the little places around town that made Prescott Prescott choose to do business with those that embody the spirit. Goodwin st shopping center has several great little places to eat such as "HOLE IN THE WALL" (formerly nick and maddies) and thiphoon... Both are owned by single families and rum by mama..

Also ue place that are closer to prescott go to frontier village theater instead of Harkins, makes people want to build a business near oter succesful bussines...

Granny J said...

anon -- I, too, have been lax in responding! thank you for further info about Cornet, and for all the history you have furnished.

michael -- as one who doesn't drive, you can be sure that I do much of my eating/shopping with locally owned businsses, including all the eating places at the Goodwin Street center. And don't forget that you can get good, authentic Mexican food at the little grocery store (and they always have good avocados.)

Jan said...

Hello all,anyone remember Walts coffee shop???

Granny J said...

Jan -- I repeated your question on tonight's (10/19/08) blog -- I'll be curious to see if we get any answers...

Jan said...

I sure enjoy hearing about the pre-big-city Prescott.Thanks everyone.I love to hear the remember when!!!!!!Jan

Jan said...

Thanks everyone for all the memories.Love all the remember when stuff.

Granny J said...

Jan -- thanks for visiting again. I've got friends who are refreshing their memories about Walt's Coffee Shop, BTW.

Jan said...

Hi all, I seldom get downtown but I was amazed when I drove Montezuma and saw all the for sale signs.So much property for sale downtown.A sign of the times.More changes I hate to see.

Granny J said...

Jan -- to see some really old pictures from Prescott, go to Prescott Past.

azlaydey said...

Does anyone remember when the El Chaparral building was the A J Williams Market? Boy......that goes back a long way! I used to visit the stone 2 story building when it was an "antique" store.

Jarart said...

The husband remembers Walt's Coffee shop by the Apache Lodge on Gurley Street. Then it was a "Maid Rite" type place for a little while. Thanks for the memories!

Granny J said...

FYI: The previous two comments were entered in Feb. 09. As of my last trip down Miller Valley, the former filling station next to the True Value is still renting equipment, party bounce houses & such ... the Hong Kong Buffet is open ... the stone building has been rented and since lost its lessee.

waljon41 said...

Does anyone remember a small MontgomeryWards catalog store located close to the college entrance on Sheldon? In the mid to late 70's, before Ponderosa Center, the J.C.Penny's was located in what is now Bashford Courts. The sounds made while walking across the original wood flooring was a reminder of years growing up in southern California. As with all Penny's stores of the time, the elevator also stopped at a Mezzanine level, which could be seen from the first floor.

Melanie A. said...

Well, I certainly remember the Penney's--that's where Mom bought Girl Scout uniforms. I don't remember whether they had that pneumatic tube system you see in the department stores in old movies.

I don't remember the Monkey Ward's, but I do remember the Sears catalog store downtown on Cortez. I think it's Lindquist Realty now. Next door or so was a Goldwater's, greatly diminished from when it was in the building that became the Studio Theatre, now the parking lot for the Baptist church.

azlaydey said...

OMG.....I remember all of the places mentioned! Must be the fact that I moved to Skull Valley in 1966, when you knew everyone that you saw around town!!!

 
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