Gaithersburg’s Main Street has too many hair and nail salons and not enough parking, residents said in a city-administered survey.
More than 600 residents in Kentlands, Lakelands and Quince Orchard Park responded to the city’s survey on their patronage of Main Street shops and restaurants, located near Kentlands Boulevard.
“They don’t like the lack of variety,” Gaithersburg Director of Economic Development Tom Lonergan said as he presented the results to the city council Monday night.
The respondents’ favorite locations on Main Street were the restaurants Vasilis, Yoyogi Sushi and Batik. More than 60 percent of respondents said they would like to see more restaurants and bookstores.
The feedback is mostly good news for the city, council member Henry F. Marraffa Jr. said.
“When we did Main Street, we didn’t know ... if it was going to be successful,” he said.
Survey respondents expressed concern with a lack of parking near the shopping and restaurant district.
“I shouldn’t say ‘Thank goodness there’s a parking problem,’” Mayor Sidney Katz said, “but at least that indicates people are coming from outside the area.”
Paula Ross, a Gaithersburg resident, said the city should consider collecting data from people living outside the city to get a broader picture of Main Street’s visitors.
“Poolesville, Darnestown come to mind,” she said. “The data is good, but it needs to go a step further to be useful.”
Council member Henry F. Marraffa Jr. said once people get to Main Street, they need to know what it offers.
“Having a specific attraction obviously will draw people,” he said. “Getting them to spread out is a problem.”
Katz said people might be surprised by some of the smaller businesses.
“We actually have a chocolate factory in Gaithersburg,” he said.
Business owners were surveyed in a separate sample. What they found, Lonergan said, was that store spaces were small.
“They‘re typically not ready to accommodate midsize restaurants,” he said.
Overall, Lonergan said, Main Street is still considered a good place to do business.
“Clearly, the community wants it to succeed,” he said. The city and Kentlands Downtown Partnership will work together to address data from the survey.