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St. Helena Plaza

The St. Helena Plaza just south of Spring Street.

About a year ago, the Star did a walking survey of the downtown commercial sector to count retail stores, restaurants, empty storefronts, etc.

This year we took another snapshot. Here are the results.

The survey covers the same area as last year’s: Main Street from Grayson Avenue to Pine Street, Hunt Avenue, Railroad Avenue, Adams Street, Oak Avenue, Fulton Lane, Spring Street between Main Street and Oak Avenue, and the Safeway commercial center.

The count doesn’t include offices because office buildings are split into so many suites, and it didn’t make sense to commingle empty office spaces with empty retail spaces.

The 18 vacant shops and storefronts — up from 15 last year — does not include the former St. Helena Catholic School because it’s not a commercial property. Churches were excluded because they’re dotted around town and not limited to the arbitrary area of the survey.

The miscellaneous category includes one-off businesses that don’t fit into any other categories, such as the Cameo Cinema, Health Spa Napa Valley and the old PG&E building. The miscellaneous retail category includes home furnishing and kitchen stores, which were consigned to their own category last year.

The city is working with a consultant, Kosmont Companies, to help revitalize downtown, attract customers, and decrease the number of vacant storefronts.

One of the most notable additions to the “miscellaneous retail” category this year is Wish, the first temporary pop-up business approved under a new permitting system the city set up in time for the 2018 holiday shopping season.

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