Others, though, are already dreaming up what the space could be used for. A poll on the Reflector website asks readers what they would like to replace Pat Catan’s at 80 Whittlesey Ave., once the craft store closes for good in early October.
Would a Hobby Lobby fill the crafts niche void that Norwalk will soon have? Would an Ollie’s Discount Store be a good fit? How about a Marc’s?
Historically, the building hasn’t had much success, with a long period of inactivity for its short life.
The arts and crafts store opened its Norwalk location in May 2017, which at the time was 12 1/2 years old and already had been home to three different grocery stores.
Tops Friendly Markets opened in the then-new building Oct. 20, 2004 and closed Dec. 8, 2006. Giant Eagle closed a year and one day after it replaced Tops. Valu King Food Market followed, occupying part of the building, and lasted just six months.
The entire building then remained vacant until Pat Catan’s arrived.
Pat Catan’s is closing because the parent company, Michaels Companies Inc., decided to eliminate all 36 stores in the chain. The parent company plans to reopen a dozen of them as rebranded Michaels stores, but Norwalk is not one of them.
Mayor Rob Duncan said he’s already been proactive, reaching out to different companies — “primarily to retail” businesses, which he said could bring some good things to the city.
“That’s what the store was built for and it’s in a good central location,” he said.
When asked about an Ollie’s or Hobby Lobby coming to Norwalk, the mayor said both “could be a good fit here.”
Duncan said he hasn’t forgotten the current workers at Pat Catan’s. He alerted the Huron County Job and Family Services agencies about the possibility of workers and their families needing assistance once the jobs are eliminated.
The mayor said he’s not sure what caused Michaels to retain Sandusky’s location instead of Norwalk’s.
“I’m sure it was a business decision,” Duncan said. “I don’t know all the intricate details about the decision or like the price of this property compared to the price of that property, but I’m sure things like that played into that decision.”
Duncan said he’s heard some feedback from the community on what they’d like to see fill the space, but said mostly the community just wants the building to be occupied.
“Most people would just like to see something in there,” Duncan said. “It sat empty for so long. There are a lot of things that are beyond our control with the owners of the property. I think we would all just like to see something in there that’s good for the community.”