Henderson Center- Shopping the Way It’s Meant To Be

       What were you doing in 1946? I can’t remember but then I have the excuse that I wasn’t born yet. A group of businesspeople were busy in 1946 forming the Henderson Center Merchants’ Association (HCMA) and friendly Henderson Center has been an integral part of Eureka’s economy ever since.

       I may as well confess at the outset that Henderson Center is my favorite neighborhood in Eureka. When I moved back here in 1993 I spent considerable time looking for a house to buy near Henderson Center but there was absolutely nothing available. Even now,  when I drive through I see the ghosts of businesses past.  Remember McGaraghan’s? Grace’s Pizza? The Purity store? Steve’s Coney Island when Steve was still there and it was located down by Finnegan & Nason, now the Tailwagger’s Thrift shop? Remember Nygard & Green?  I had been a bit worried when Robert’s closed and it seemed that the blight of empty storefronts that has plagued downtown since the economy  went south was going to be echoed in the Center. I am happy to report that’s not true.

        Henderson Center is thriving. It is the most user-friendly and walkable district in town, and with its unlimited parking – no racing to move your car after two hours- is evolving into the kind of small-town shopping experience that puts the malls of the world to shame.

       Let’s define our terms. Henderson Center as defined by the HCMA is everything between D Street and G Street, and from Dollison to Hodgson.  Although the HCMA has 60 members at present, there are a total of 120 businesses in the area, many of which don’t fall into the “merchant” category. There are banks and brokers, insurance agencies, realtors, medical offices, ad agencies etc etc. It has been a bit of a challenge to build membership among the non- “merchants” even though membership dues are only $100 annually.

       The HCMA has no paid staff and therefore is a volunteer organization with each member also having at least one business to run so most of their expenditures are for promotion of their sponsored events such as the summer Farmer’s Market (Thursdays from 10am to 1pm), the Hallowe’en Trick or Treat , and the Holiday Open House. They have learned to do more with less but look forward to increasing membership so that they can advertise more.  The current officers  are: President: Jack Rieke of Shafer’s, Vice-President:  Linda Jo Alexander of Promises Bridal and Formal Wear, Secretary: Bev Sousa of Bev’s Real Kids, and Treasurer: Sue Johnson of The Shady Lady, window coverings.

       The lack of a paid staff has precluded the HCMA from negotiating with landlords as a group but the upcoming changes in the neighborhood are exciting. Look for the old Tailwaggers site to become a pizza restaurant.  The former  Safeway pharmacy is vacant for now, but is an excellent location that will surely be snapped up. Cornerstone Computers is developing a huge following for its excellent customer service. And the old Robert’s building is being prepped as a grocery and deli, and the liquor license app is already posted in the window. Good things are coming to this neighborhood of mostly independent stores, and I’m looking forward to having a nice glass of wine while the leisurely traffic on F Street cruises by.

Hope they have outdoor tables.

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14 thoughts on “Henderson Center- Shopping the Way It’s Meant To Be

  1. As I asked on my blog, can you think of more than 3 businesses that were in Henderson Center 40 years ago that are still there today? I’m thinking Cherry Blossom Bakery (could be wrong on that), Henderson Center Laundromat and Fresh Freeze. Is that it?

    • Cherry Blossom was there all right but they were in a different location, I think across from Vellutinis. What about Eureka Florist? Think they were there in the old days.

      • Yes, I do recall Eureka Florist being in there somewhere. I’m wondering about JoAnn Fabrics? Seems that place has been there a while.
        Then there’s that place I still hardly even notice on the back side of JoAnn’s. Bucksport something or another? The used to sell shoes and do custom canvas and nylon work. I’ll have to remember to pay attention next time I drive by there.

          • I think your wife is right because I can remember when Joann’s opened. Cannot recall what was there before. The place on the F St side is Mike Grundman’s shoe repair and he does other repairs as you mentioned. I take my boots there to be waterproofed every winter. Just lately I’ve noticed a barbershop next to him.

          • That’s it. Grundman’s. Yes, there’s a barber shop there next to it. Female barber. I forget her name, despite having been in there a couple times. You might recall it had a fire not too long ago but she cleaned it up and went back to work.

  2. I guess it was before my time, but I only remember Steve’s Coney Island being where that Stuffed Potato place is now, next to Rite- Aid.
    I don’t remember a Grace’s Pizza, but I do remember a Grace’s Bar where Hunan’s is now.
    I also remember when Shafer’s Hardware was on F Street right around where that bank is now- next to the old Henderson Center Pharmacy. As I recall it took up two or three of the current spaces there now.

    • I can remember Steve, too. Grace’s Pizza, which I’m sure is the same place, was a source of teenage tragedy when I was in high school because you had to be 18 to get in. Don’t remember any other location of Shafer’s but there was a Buxton’s Drugs right around where Siggins is . Ah, memories!

      • Buxton’s Drugs rings a bell, which reminded me of Larry’s(?) Liquors, also on F Street. It would have been right near Ace Hardware, maybe next to it.

        It was thought to have the best magazine selection in town by folks I knew. You may recall they ended up getting shut down when the owner, or one of the employees, was caught selling cocaine from the store.

  3. Liquor license is in name of “HMC LLC” for beer/wine only and in name of Henderson Center Marketplace. The Murphy’s staff in Cutten hasn’t heard of any new stores in HC or anywhere. Whoever HMC are, hope they can get it going while the weather’s still good.

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