By Terey Delisle
On a Wednesday night this past October, I decided to stop at Del’s downtown after a meeting to pick up a pizza to bring home.
In my usual ritual, while waiting for my pizza to be ready I stepped over to Mike’s Tap Room (also known as the Trenton Tap Room) for a drink. I thought it was odd that the door was locked, but didn’t start panicking yet — even as in the back of my mind I knew. After walking back to Del’s, I asked an employee there who confirmed what I had feared. The Tap Room was closed.
Although my friends and I always enjoyed the neighborhood bar, we unfortunately hadn’t been there in months. It was just one of those downtown places I thought has always been there and would always be there. It’s hard to find the kind of place these days where anyone was truly welcome — whatever your station in life — where you could talk with the “regulars” and meet new and old friends (not to mention being allowed to carve your initials into the bar for posterity). It was “nothing special,” yet everything about it was special.
I had the feeling that I have had on many occasions, of my youth and connection to hometown places slipping away. It felt like the end of an era. I am not good with change, at least not at first.
Although I have heard various rumors about a reopening, as of this writing the doors are still locked and the phone number disconnected. I called a few friends to mourn the loss of this favorite old haunt. After sharing in the grieving process together we soon began to talk of what we would like to see take its place.
It’s clear that a wave of nostalgia is crashing over most of us, as tends to happen during difficult times. The Facebook page “Downriver Things That Are Not There Anymore” has grown to over 12,000 members in just a few months, with new posts every day. Technology now allows us to indulge in old memories together in a way we never could before. We remember places we loved during” better times” and wish we could go back.
Still, change is inevitable and necessary for progress. With the closing of some of our favorite businesses, sometimes a new favorite takes its place.
After all, Elliot’s Bakery was once a carpet store. Café West once was Navarre’s Shoes, and then a Pizza Hut. It took some time, but we have a great restaurant, The Round House, where Mulias and Ellias used to stand.
West Grange was once a very small drugstore located next door to its current location — which previously housed a Wrigley super market.
The building that houses TV’s Deli Diner was a Burger King once upon a time. Of course, TV’s Grand Event was once the Trenton Hotel (where women were not allowed!) Trenton Jewelers used to be Dino’s Pizza (although I admit, I still miss Dino’s …) Trentwood Farm Market used to be an A&P, and later Grove Drugs … to name just a few.
I do have to wonder, though, if some of our favorite places that have closed would still be around if only we used them more. A business can only survive as much as consumers patronize them.
We must ask ourselves if we remember to think Trenton and other Downriver businesses first when shopping or going out to eat. If there is a place you love, what are you doing to keep it here? This holiday season, and throughout the year we need to shop locally as much as possible.
The planned opening of an assisted living and nursing center in what was Riverside Hospital will bring new jobs and people into downtown, who will be looking for places to spend their lunch hours and shop after work.
What should take the place of the Tap Room and other empty buildings in the area? We already have some wonderful places in the city, both new and old. What else would you like to see in Trenton? What kinds of businesses could bring people into the city and keep them coming?
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