A recent Maplewood-Brentwood Patch article described how Maplewood Community Development Director Rachelle L'Ecuyer took issue with an article in St. Louis Magazine.
The article included the line, "With Mezzanine and Monarch Restaurant closing in the past year, Maplewood’s boom seems to have slowed."
L'Ecuyer wrote a two-page letter to the editor of St. Louis Magazine, that the line "dealt Maplewood a groundless blow."
Later, she received a letter from Editor-in-Chief Jarrett Medlin.
"As you've noted, Maplewood truly is a wonderful community," Medlin wrote. He said the magazine is planning to run an excerpt of L'Ecuyer's rebuttal. The excerpt is in the February issue's Feedback section.
"I thought Mr. Medlin was very nice about the whole thing," L'Ecuyer said.
When L'Ecuyer saw the Maplewood-Brentwood Patch article about the magazine's comment and her response, she emailed Maplewood-Brentwood Patch the letter she received from Medlin. She included her complete letter to Medlin, and said it could run in Patch. It's included below.
Dear Mr. Medlin:
The December issue of St. Louis Magazine ran a section on the St. Louis region’s retail centers and we in Maplewood were thrilled to be included. Initially, thrilled, that is, until we read the line: “With Mezzanine and Monarch closing in the past year, Maplewood’s boom seems to have slowed.”
While this is only one sentence in an otherwise glowing article about our unique boutiques it gave me pause, quite a bit, actually. That statement simply is not true on many levels and comes off as an unwarranted jab by your staff.
While Monarch has played a key role as an anchor in our restaurant scene and continues to offer events in their space (St. Louis Magazine had a party there this fall), the changes with this venue do not reflect our retail businesses at all.
As I write this, Small Business Saturday was our best one yet and Maplewood has become synonymous with the day.
The Maplewood Chamber’s Christmas Tree Walk, a St. Louis Magazine A-List winner, found the streets of our historic downtown filled with guests and the shops were brimming with customers during the entire evening.
The City of Maplewood and the Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremonies for new businesses averaged at least one, if not more, a month in 2012 and we have already scheduled some for 2013.
And if we are indeed going to throw the momentum our restaurants play into this mix, Home Wine Kitchen was named, “Best New Restaurant of 2012” by St. Louis Magazine; Acero is in Zagat’s Top Ten; and numerous food establishments garnered local awards ranging from St. Louis Magazine’s own A-List Awards to Sauce Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards to The Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis Awards.
When I first arrived as the Community Development Director seven and a half years ago, we had more than ten vacant storefronts in the main area of our downtown; today we have two. Those two spaces are vacant not because there is a lack of interest by potential tenants; it is due to issues beyond our control related to the building owners.
Our Special Business District Commission has worked very hard to develop programs that offer incentives to small business owners and we also support their efforts with advertising and events like Let Them Eat Art that brings over 10,000 to Maplewood every July (and was nominated for an A-List award in 2012).
I don’t see the boom slowing but then again, I am not sure we ever had one. Maplewood has redeveloped nicely into a walkable historic downtown and that happened over a stretch of many years, not all at once. This is really about a community that over the last decade has strived to reclaim and rebrand itself and become a destination not just for shopping, but dining and entertainment, too.
I could go on and on but the point here is St. Louis Magazine dealt Maplewood a groundless blow, sending a pointless and off-putting message to your readers. While it may not seem like a big deal to your writers or editors, it is important to us, the community of Maplewood, the businesses and those of us at City Hall who work everyday to ensure Maplewood remains the great place that it is.
Director of Community Development