Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, February 11, 2019

You don't have to be a big bank to add a coffee bar: First Bank & Trust in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Capital One Bank branches, at least in cities, are moving from the traditional teller window format to having relationship managers come up to you, offices, and coffee bars--run by third parties not offering free coffee ("Capital One Cafe plies you with coffee and pastry while selling you services," Philadelphia Inquirer)..

This concept started with ING Bank in Philadelphia maybe 10 or more years ago.  Capital One acquired ING a number of years ago.

A shared lobby and gathering space separates First Bank & Trust and Coffea at Dawley Farm Village. (Photo: Joe Ahlquist / Argus Leader)

But First Bank & Trust, a three branch bank firm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, probably learning from Capital One, is doing the same thing ("Open-concept bank renovation to add public spaces, coffee bar," Sioux Falls Argus-Leader).

It does leverage the point I make concerning linking food/beverage and retail:
people eat and drink every day, but they buy stuff comparatively infrequently.  So to build frequency of visits, if it makes sense, add food/beverage elements.

Banks not always seen as a boon for commercial districts.  Note that in commercial district revitalization planning, banks other than TD Bank, which is open 7 days/week, and usually with later hours than more traditional banks, as late as 7pm in some locations, can sometimes be seen as a negative because (1) they take high profile spots; (2) which are closed many hours per week; (3) and they drive up rents for traditional retailers, because banks will pay higher than normal rents for other reasons.

Does adding a cafe change the equation?  But I doubt that the food/beverage element is open beyond the bank's regular hours, which is an issue, and dampens the overall positive effect.

There is a Starbucks in the lobby of a Wells Fargo Bank located on Orange Circle in Orange, California.  Although it's closing because of another Starbucks being across the street and the recent opening of an independent ("Starbucks to close one of its 2 cafes in Orange’s historic Old Towne Plaza ," Orange County Register).

The store has been in operation since 1995 and stays open one hour past the closing of the bank.

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