Old Town Clovis is evolving. No longer just the land of antique stores, my story on the front page of the Bee today detailed many of the changes happening there. A sampling: A new law allowing wine and beer tasting rooms, next month’s craft beer crawl, an influx of young people — hipsters, even — along with a new plaza for events. A growing number of businesses are catering to a younger generation, including Kuppa Joy (pictured at right) and The Lounge at DiCicco’s. And Old Town has a less than 5% vacancy rate, with businesses scrambling to find space to open.

You can read the full story here, but here’s the thing that kept sticking in my brain as I did this story. Several times during different interviews, sources would say to me, sometimes in hushed tones, “Old Town is the new Tower District.” Or, “Old Town is what the Tower District should have been,” or some variation on that sentiment.

Interesting, huh?

They were speaking mostly in terms of the draw Old Town now has, bringing in people for dinner, shopping and farmers markets. When I brought up this contrast to others, they pointed out more differences such as the panhandlers you find in Tower, and the higher percentage of empty store fronts. And maybe the fact that you’re not going to find a gay pride parade in Old Town.

So, Beehivers, what do you think? Is the comparison between the two districts an accurate one? Or is saying that Old Town is what Tower should be just a dig at Tower?

Bethany Clough

Bethany Clough

Bethany Clough has the most fun job at the Bee. She writes about restaurants, shopping and has the low-down on local businesses. In case you're wondering, her last name is pronounced "Cluff."
Bethany Clough
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

10 thoughts on “Is Old Town Clovis the new Tower District?

  • March 13, 2015 at 8:38 pm
    Permalink

    DTC is not, and should not/cannot be Tower. Tower for all its foibles is still an amazing collection of arts and performance demonstrated no better than the Rogue festival. I love both, but they provide different atmospheres entirely. Equally both provide Fresnan and Clovisian (?) a greater quality of life. One does not replace the other but enhances what we have to work with as a community. Both are wonderful in completely different ways.

    Reply
    • March 15, 2015 at 6:55 am
      Permalink

      Well said RL! Both are great and unique! I will continue to support both. Tower is a treasure and I love the direction Old Town is taking!

      Reply
  • March 13, 2015 at 11:20 pm
    Permalink

    Your comment regarding “you won’t find a gay pride parade” is off base and unnecessary.

    Reply
  • March 14, 2015 at 6:35 am
    Permalink

    I agree with RL in that they provide different atmospheres. They also have a different history. Tower was born out of Fresno poets hanging out at the Cafe Midi in the 60’s and morphed into a punk scene in the 70’s and 80’s. And yes, it has its problems, but a lot of people in Tower like its tribal, open spirit.

    It’s fantastic that DTC is offering alternatives and creating a great neighborhood. But comparisons don’t serve either neighborhood. It isn’t a zero-sum game. Fresno/Clovis is becoming a metro area built around distinct neighborhoods. DTC can and is distinct on its own terms.

    Reply
  • March 14, 2015 at 8:11 am
    Permalink

    I live in Tower so let me say that, but I think Old Town Clovis is positioned for success because of the proximity of wealth to its location. As has been stated over and over again Fresno abounded its core. With that said living in the Tower I am antidotally seeing more home ownership and home improvements so I think the Downtown and Mural District investment is spreading to Tower.

    The other thing I have noticed about the restaurants and specifically Kuppa Joy is that a lot of them have invested a lot into design and layout. Kuppa Joy is beautiful. They really care about good coffee. Those are the two main ingredients for doing a coffee shop well. Tower needs more owners that don’t just go for opening a business, but go for opening a business that values esthetics. Business that care about the best product.

    I love Tower and think it is still thriving and growing and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

    Reply
  • March 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm
    Permalink

    I will be the first to admit that Old Town Clovis is cleaner and more middle-class-friendly than the Tower District. But an arts district is supposed to be challenging, not comfortable. A bohemian neighborhood is not the same thing as an upscale shopping district. The Tower is a valuable place to Fresno because it’s full of freaky and disturbing people doing freaky, disturbing, original things. It’s very uncomfortable and messy, but that’s what creativity looks like. I would rather have one dirty storefront theater where original work is performed than a thousand fashionable coffee shops. Now if someone is actually creating and presenting challenging, original art in Old Town Clovis, I would be all for it. But a clean, tidy place for white, middle-class hipsters to have craft beer crawls is not quite the same thing.

    Reply
  • March 15, 2015 at 7:18 pm
    Permalink

    The comments posted above summarize my view quite well. I moved back to the Tower District 18 months ago after being away for a few years. I walk and ride my bike all over the ‘hood. Sometimes I bump up against an urban reality; there are many struggling people in this area. It’s tough to hear about the break-ins and other crime. But what is also a cornerstone of Tower is inclusivity, and that’s something I treasure. Paint it any way you want, but you won’t find such acceptance in DTC or in Clovis in general. Then add in the live music and theatre happening about every night of the week, small galleries, the eclectic mix of restaurants, and you have a true urban neighborhood. I do think the Tower District could use a PBID, and of course, the continued commitment to watching out for each other.

    Reply
  • March 16, 2015 at 12:54 pm
    Permalink

    It sounds like Old Town is turning into a gentrified version of Tower (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Reply
  • March 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm
    Permalink

    “Old Town” will never be like the Tower District. The Tower District has an authentic thriving arts scene, something that Old Town and “The Mural District” are attempting to replicate. You cannot choose a part of town and decide that it is the arts/cultural district of a region. The arts scene grows and thrives on its’ own from groups of like-minded individuals. “Old Town” prides itself as being “family friendly” and a place where cowboys and the Old West are dreamily admired and preserved. The Tower District is made up of punks, hipsters, progressives, the gay community, crust-punks, street kids, college students, etc. That being said, there is a much greater sense of acceptance in the Tower District with events such as the Gay Pride Parade. Young people will continue to flock to the Tower District for alternative stores and the privilege of being able to walk and bike in a neighborhood, something that is rare in the Central Valley. It’s also very interesting to see how Fresno and Clovis are aware of the “hipster factor” and are attempting to draw in young people to their respective districts.

    Reply
  • March 16, 2015 at 3:49 pm
    Permalink

    There is a wonderful and vibrant underbelly that exists in the Tower. It is what really feeds it. Talking about the Coffee Houses…the Bars… the Restaurants and the Homeless…totally misses the point and just doesn’t get it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our Feed