After running his business in downtown Augusta for more than a decade, Rock Bottom Music Store owner Jonathan Karow is leaving Broad Street for a new location at the Fairway Square Shopping Center, on Washington Road.
“July of last year is where we really saw numbers in certain departments drop,” Karow says.
Karow says he started looking for a new location after the First Friday shooting last summer, but he says he knew it was time to go when he heard about the downtown brawl and an attack on the Augusta Riverwalk. “I have to protect the people…my customers, my employees, my family, the kids that come in here to take lessons…and adults too,” he says.
Karow says his employees are also ready to move. He says, within a one year period, one employee was assaulted outside of his store and another was robbed at gunpoint. He says downtown just isn't the place for retail anymore.
“Regency Mall had the same kind of attacks, whether in the parking lot or fights in the building. And, Regency Mall now ceases to exist, it's just an abandoned building. It was a fantastic mall…for a long time,” Karow says.
Karow says there are obvious solutions for the obvious problems in downtown Augusta. He says Augusta leaders need to look at how other cities are making downtown districts work. “Greenville, South Carolina….great downtown…fantastic downtown. You can go to Greenville, South Carolina downtown any night of the week and feel safe,”
Karow says that putting security cameras in downtown Augusta will help solve crimes, but he says to prevent crimes, there need to be more deputies walking down Broad Street.
“I have noticed that they ramped up security some. I've even seen one of the police officers, a bicycle cop, in the rain, doing his job. And that's wonderful,” Karow says.
Rock Bottom Music will be moving to its new location on Washington Road some time in the next 60 days. Karow says he hopes customers who don't come downtown, will frequent the new location.