Thanks for tuning into our first podcast episode of 2016!
When LeRoy Jewelers moved to Downtown Tacoma in the late 1930's there were a dozen jewelry stores downtown. Now there is one. What happened?If you've never met Steph Farber from LeRoy Jewelers in Downtown Tacoma, you're in for a treat. Steph's parents founded LeRoy Jewelers in Downtown Tacoma in the 1930's. He grew up riding his bike around a thriving Downtown Tacoma and grew up to see the businesses sucked out of downtown in the direction of the Tacoma Mall in the 1960's. Before the mall opened, Downtown Tacoma was thriving. As Steph remembers it, "The store was kind of an anchor for me. It was in a very busy downtown, a traditional downtown. With one, two, three, four departments stores... one, two, three, four movie theaters." says Steph. "Everything was there." "One thing that everybody knows is that 50 years ago the Tacoma Mall opened," says Steph. "The Bon Marche moved out followed by a lot of other small businesses... all these places that were anchors, serious destination spots in downtown believed their future belonged at the mall instead of downtown." Steph tells us about what happened between the 1960’s and the present day, as well as the victories to celebrate and challenges ahead for Downtown Tacoma today. What does he see as the next step for Downtown Tacoma? "I'm firmly of the belief that a community needs a center," he says. "You need a place that when you think of that community you can see a place. Seattle had it with Westlake. Seattle Center is certainly that place, a gathering place for that community." Steph has seen a lot! Join us as he shares his memories:
- How LeRoy Jewelers survived the Tacoma Mall in the 1960's & 1970's
- How a plan for a World Trade Center in Downtown Tacoma devastated downtown Tacoma's remaining businesses.
- Realizing every business that left downtown Tacoma for the Tacoma Mall in the 1960's has since closed.
- How 7 ladies with brooms turned the tide with a dream of restoring The Pantages Theater
- His belief that a community needs a center that they feel belongs to them in order to have a strong identity