Some store owners say new Urban Outfitters is not being neighborly


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on July 10, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 10 at 6:02 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Later this month, the ultra trendy clothing store chain, Urban Outfitters, will open its doors in the former Blockbuster building, but already some business owners say the store isn't being a good neighbor.

The uber-chic clothing store, Urban Outfitters, is set to open in weeks, but some smaller tenants say this corporate store isn't playing nice with the locals. 

Highland coffee, which will be behind the new Urban Outfitters, has called their location home for nearly 13 years. During that time, its name was prominently displayed on the sign out front.

But not anymore.

"It's not Tyler Park Plaza anymore its Urban Outfitters Plaza," said Natalie Hofer, co-owner of Highland Coffee.  "We just want them to come with the attitude of being an asset to the neighborhood, not coming in and bulldozing everyone out of their way."

Right now, Highland Coffee has one sign that has to be removed every night.  At the very least, they they would like their name back on the big sign.

Landlord Stuart Flowers says that Highland Coffee didn't have a right to the sign and since Urban Outfitters has 80 percent of the building they get the sign. He says he will pay for Highland Coffee to get a new sign. 

But Hofer says it's not enough. 

"What is left for us is having a small five square foot sign that amounts to the size of  poster board," said Hofer.  " Which is not really visible. And having an a frame sign that we are supposed to bring in."

The owners worry the lack of visible signage will affect their business.  It's a sentiment that long time customers share as well.

"It makes me very sad for them that they don't have a big sign up front," said Amy Aboud.  "Cause I know people do see the sign and pull in."

"I think everyone within a month or so is gonna be on the other side of the story and see this store bringing in so much business that the coffee shop can't handle it," said David Harwood, general contractor for Urban Outfitters.  "Could work to their advantage."

A district manager for Urban Outfitters does plan to meet with the coffee shop owners  to make sure their concerns are being heard.