A quick survey of the downtown Famous-Barr store earlier today showed that it was far from being crowded. There were no lines at any registers, and plenty of space to walk around the store at a fast clip. I was very disappointed, as I always have been in the ten years that I've been doing holiday shopping at the store.
St. Louis Centre, of course, was a ghost town. A windowpane in the skywalk over Locust Street near a Famous-Barr entrance was missing and covered with plywood. The tile floors are caked in more grime than many abandoned houses I've been inside. Gold's Gym will be opening inside the mall at the corner or 7th and Locust, but will wisely have its only entrance off of the street.
At least Papa Fabarre's, the lovely cafe inside of Famous-Barr, was bustling on Wednesday when we joined a friend for lunch there. Federated would do well to leave Fabarre's alone, unless they want to completely kill off the store. Fabarre's has been a consistent and largely unchanged part of Famous-Barr for many decades, and has not lost any of its charm. Its menu is broad and simple, with low prices that only a department store could afford to get away with. (I frequently get a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and fried there for $4.64 including tax.)
Anything unique about the store is departing next year, except for Fabarre's. Right?