One of the things I loved the most about Harry L. Drive in Johnson City when I first moved here was how every store I could need was staggered in that area. From the mall to Weis and Wegmans, Christmas Tree Shop to Gander Mountain, Toys 'R' Us and many more.

Except something happened and pretty sudden. Weis closed the Harry L. Drive store. Gander Mountain sold to Camping World and shut its Johnson City doors. Macys and Sears left the mall. While there are still a good number of stores and eateries, more and more vacant spots are popping up in what was once a bustling shopping area. So, why not fill the spaces?

When I heard that Toys 'R' Us in Johnson City would be closing their doors, I thought about what a great plaza the store is located in (except for that time it flooded) and what a vacant building would do to the landscape of the plaza. And then, I started thinking about what business could go in the spot of Toys 'R' Us. These are four of my picks.

  • 1

    Golden Corral

    Construction on a new Golden Corral begins in early May. In Syracuse. Why should Syracuse get all of the good stuff? What about us in little ‘ol Binghamton? Aren’t we deserving of a buffet that has more than just Chinese options? Not that there’s anything wrong with Chinese...but you know.

  • 2


    Speaking of Syracuse getting all of the good stuff. Yep, they just got a Chick-Fil-A. Oh, and did you know that there’s a Chick-Fil-A at the University of Scranton? Guess what one of my pregnancy cravings was? Uh, huh...Chick-Fil-A. Would you like to guess where my husband drove just to buy his crazy, hormonal wife a sandwich? Moral of the story: we NEED a Chick-Fil-A here, especially since my husband and I would like to expand our family.

  • 3

    Pottery Barn/Pottery Barn Kids

    I know this is going to be hard to believe...but the nearest Pottery Barn store is guessed it, Syracuse. Clearly, I’m struggling with Syracuse envy, but again, why should they have all the things? One of my favorite places to shop when I visit the outlets in Lancaster is Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids and if I can’t get an outlet version of the store, I’ll take the real deal, but someone might need to take my credit card!

  • 4

    Trader Joe's

    Honestly, I don’t think this would ever happen because of the proximity to Wegmans, but then again, for someone like me who loves both stores- it would be heavenly. If you don’t know what Trader Joe’s is, it’s a grocery store that has a bunch of unique items at really cheap prices. And their cookie butter! Unless you’ve had it, you can’t even fathom how amazingly delicious Trader Joe's cookie butter is. If you’ve flown Delta, then you know those delicious cookies they hand out in flight. Trader Joe’s cookie butter tastes basically like that but in a creamy form.

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