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Alarmed by the number of empty storefronts in the neighborhood, where he's lived for the last 13 years, Mearon decided to try to buck the trend by expanding into some of them rather than battening down the hatches. He envisions building up the clothing element of the shop and offering art classes for adults and kids. He's an artist and sells his own paintings, greeting cards, and T-shirts at Spare Parts, which he says are popular: "People are really looking for art instead of some lame poster at Bed, Bath and Beyond."
But he needs investors. Last week he sent out an email with the subject heading "Decline of Lakeview Shopping District," In it, he wrote, "If you live in Lake View, you are aware of the multiple stores closing, and the ugly vacant gaps left in our beautiful neighborhood. . . . As a community we must help each other out. The merchants on Broadway are pulling together. We can't let our neighborhood fade away. Spare Parts has a great opportunity to expand into a new realm . . . Clothing and art! . . . . A facility to learn about art would be awesome in Lake View . . . We can create jobs in our community. . . . WE NEED A FEW SERIOUS INVESTORS. Call me and we can talk.”
Mearon has talked to a few people so far but nothing has been finalized yet. In the meantime, he is teaming up both formally and informally with his fellow retailers and small businesses, which include Styl Shoe Store, Pastoral, the Soup Box, and Bobtail. "We're trying to do a party, an art party, a block party, a 'we're still open party.' We have to pool together."