Two more local businesses shutter on 4th Ave

More change on historic 4th Avenue

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Two more local businesses are shuttering along Fourth Avenue, the victims of rising rents.

Revolutionary Grounds, a coffee and book store established in 2008 along the avenue, posted a sign that said only two more days left.

The sign said they will be moving.

A rock store next door is also closing, but there's no indication what its plans may be.

There are three new large developments in the works or already approved for Fourth Avenue that will change the character of the street, which still maintains a 1970s look and a local vibe.

Fourth Avenue has taken on many iterations over the years, suffering a steep decline in the 1980s, but bouncing back in the past two decades to become a popular tourist destination.

Ande Matzkin is the manager of Caruso's Italian Restaurant at 434 N. 4th, where it has been since 1940.

"When my great grandfather came here, I don't think he expected it to be what it has turned into," she said. "I think it was just a dirt road."

Matzkin says she fears as more local businesses fail or are pushed off the avenue, it will lose some of its charm.

"I think when people come to Tucson, they like to remember something different than what they would normally seen in a chain," she said.

The city of Tucson has taken several steps to try to insure the avenue remains true to its culture but there's only so much the city can do.

"Our goal, our hope is to maintain a certain local vibe on Fourth Avenue," Ward VI City Council member Steve Kozachik said. "We can't compel that by zoning. We can't say if you're a chain, you can't move it."

Negotiating agreements with developers has also helped. Ground floor retail will be required to set aside smaller spaces which fit the price points and needs of local business.

But it will take more than that to retain the local charm.

"At the end of the day, someone's going to have to ante up the cash, and ante up their own sweat equity too," Kozachik said. "The time and energy it takes to run a small business and that's hard."

Matzkin, who is fourth generation in the Caruso's business knows how hard it is to keep a business going but also to lose some of those who have been around a while.

"We'll miss the ones who've been with us for all these years," she said. And if they're not able to be here with us, it's like having a brother or sister move away."

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