A mural on the brick wall behind 713 inc Art & Apparel
Hater Magazine defines a “Hater” as: Someone that can… cut through the spin, the phoniness and expose what’s real about the world around us…
This mural is on the brick wall behind the 713 inc Art & Apparel boutique at 1912 North Main near Hogan. I have see different murals on the same wall, so I’m not sure how long this one has been there and how long it will stay. The store itself is a great addition to the neighborhood and one that I hope is permanent. In fact, it’s one of the only new retail establishments that has come to the neighborhood in a long, long time. It opened about a year ago and sells men’s and women’s printed T-shirts designed by Real Street Kloze, as well as bags and small art objects. It also sells art supplies for the urban artist including specialty aerosol paints, markers, paint sticks, sketchbooks, and magazines.
Opening a new independent retail store on North Main, during Light Rail construction, in a recession, seems a risky move. Maybe it takes a Hater to pull off something like this. The entrepreneurs behind this boutique have proven themselves braver and more entrepreneurial than all those other business who are supposedly “waiting” to invest in the Near Northside until the Light Rail is completed. As a reminder, the North Light Rail Expansion is now scheduled for completion in late 2014. Meanwhile, one of our main commercial corridors in the Near Northside (North Main Street) is full of vacant lots, vacant buildings, and suburban-style surface-parking lots. Northsiders like me, my family, and my neighbors are spending our hard-earned money elsewhere simply because of the lack of nearby amenities. At this point, that’s three more years worth of going out to eat, out to a bar, shopping for clothes, shopping for electronics, and other general entertainment that we and our neighbors, and anyone will NOT be spending on North Main and in the Near Northside. On the other hand, I would dare to say that the 713 inc Art and Apparel store on North Main has such a unique product that it likely brings in urban artists and urban art enthusiasts from all over Houston.
I, for one, welcome that business into my neighborhood. I want to encourage that kind of energy and entrepreneurial spirit. Unfortunately I have heard rumors that my neighbors don’t share my enthusiasm. There seems to be a sentiment floating around that wants to discourage this business because it is accused of supplying vandals with the resources to commit their crimes, resulting in graffiti on nearby buildings that is costly to clean up. To that I would say the answer is not to discourage local businesses, but rather to encourage more new local business. I would say that maybe the problem is not the things this store sells, but rather the amount of vacant buildings and dark corners in the Near Northside; which is really what is providing vast opportunity for vandalism. A busier, denser commercial corridor might be less prone to vandalism than a string of poorly lit, empty, neglected structures.
So to those business that are waiting for the Light Rail to be completed before they want to invest in our neighborhood, I ask “what are you really waiting for?” I encourage you to be creative and take risks! If you do, I think you’ll find that the Northside will reward you.