The grand re-opening in its new location was mid-July, and this month will be first First Thursday for the store in its new location. And with its new location comes something downtown Boise has been missing since Kandor's closing: kitchen stuffs. In addition to its inventory of Polish pottery, owner Sandra Merritt has expanded the inventory to include kitchenware. Appliances, gadgets, aprons and hanging pot racks are among some of the new items Pottery Gourmet now carries. This First Thursday, Pottery Gourmet will be doing its usual First Thursday thing with sales and refreshments, but in all new digs.
Pottery Gourmet, 811 W. Bannock St., 208-368-0649.
New Rate Takes Effect at Downtown Parking Garages
If the price of gas isn't enough to motivate you to ride your bike downtown, maybe the recent increase in parking fees will motivate your pedal pushers. On August 1 parking fees in downtown Boise's parking garages went up from $1.50 an hour to $2.50 an hour in order to pay for the refurbishing costs the aging structures reportedly have to undergo. According to statistics from Republic Parking Northwest, the company that manages the eight garages in the Downtown Public Parking System for the Capitol City Development Corporation, the number of visitors to the city's garages has nearly doubled in the last five years, with 890,938 visitors in 2007 up from 481,261 visitors in 2003.
Max Clark, parking and Facilities Director at CCDC, said he hasn't fielded too many complaints about the increase since last Friday when the new policy went into effect. In fact, said Clark, he doesn't even consider the fee hike to be news. The new rate will hold without an increase for at least the next four years if all goes well, said Clark. In early 2004, CCDC and Republic Parking Northwest did away with the validation system in order to offer the first hour of parking free, a benny CCDC credits with increasing visitors' stay downtown, which in turn, boosted the overall economic health of downtown.
Ironically, the number of visitors to downtown garages may have increased, but so has downtown's vacancy rate. Last year saw an increase of more than 46,000 visitors in the Downtown Public Parking System, but the retail vacancy rate—calculated on square footage rather than storefronts—actually increased 4.2 percent from 2006.
Beer and Cheese with Hale's
All that First Thursday shopping wear you out and dry you up? One word: beer. The Front Door—known for having downtown's widest selection of domestic free taps—is hosting its usual First Thursday beer and cheese tasting but with a very special guest this month. Mike Hale from Hale's Ales (yep, as in the sweet nectar known to mere humans as Hale's Cream Ale) is in Boise to celebrate the Seattle-based brewery's 25th anniversary. Cheese from Boise Co-op paired up with a smattering of samples from Hale's Ales ... definitely helps ease the pain of 45 minutes spent in the shoe shop, doesn't it?
Front Door Northwest Pizza and Tap House, 105 S. Sixth St., 208-287-9201.