In thinking about how to best summarize everything that has happened in the past year, I’ve decided that 2013 has been the year of relatively few empty storefronts. Stick with me for a minute while I look at how many businesses closed in the past year, only to have something new move into their spots.

To begin with the saddest losses I could recall (although who can really rate these things?), Oak Street Bistro, Michelangelo’s and Something Brewing all closed this year. Each of these locations now has a new occupant, respectively, Brick Oven Pizza, Table Mesa and The Patio Café.

Right next to Michelangelo’s, PK’s shuttered and was almost immediately replaced by E. Leigh’s. Down the street, Mary’s Boutique went out of business, and that storefront is now home to Ms. Kay’s Boutique. That’s not all that happened downtown this year, though. Conway Tuxedo and Bridal dropped off the map, and that building has been renovated and taken over by Park Hill Home. A Very Merry Christmas Store said farewell to downtown, and the large space it formerly inhabited has been divided in two. Those two spaces now belong to Statements and Serenity Sisters/Bean Me Up Latte.

I’m probably forgetting something. I will add that Wimpy’s went out of business and Julie’s Sweet Shop later opened in its place. There have to be more, but those are the ones I can recall. I’d say the circle of business life did pretty well this year.

Next year

Here is a quick look at what is coming next year.

The Village at Hendrix will welcome The Purple Cow and How Do You Roll? (HDYR) custom sushi when phase two of the square is complete. Tacos 4 Life, the new concept by the owners of Pitza 42, is coming to Oak Street next to Taziki’s. Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen is coming to East Oak Street, and Chick-fil-A is coming to Prince Street by the Walmart Neighborhood Market. Also, the revamped Mapco station is under construction at Dave Ward Drive near Interstate 40, and I know a lot of folks are anxiously awaiting the completion of that.

Merry Christmas

Well, my shopping is done and the wrapping is well under way. All I need is one last trip to the grocery store, and I’ll be ready for anything. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

(Rachel Parker Dickerson is a freelance columnist/journalist. Send your questions and comments to