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Murray Photo and other local favorites forced out of City Center Plaza by Fox Commons

Murray Photo
Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 18:08:51-05
  • Murray Photo, a 31-year-old fixture in City Center Plaza, is shutting down due to the Fox Commons redevelopment.
  • Despite initial excitement from Fox Commons about having them in their vision, the rising rent and challenges posed by online shopping made it financially unfeasible for Murray Photo to stay.
  • The departure of Murray Photo, along with other businesses, marks a significant change in the makeup of City Center Plaza.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Since the redevelopment of City Center Plaza was announced the businesses inside have worried whether they would be part of the future fox commons. Murray Photo realized they won't. I'm Olivia Acree your Appleton neighborhood reporter, talking to Patrick Murray about why he’s shutting down his shop.

“We've been here the whole time, we actually built the place out,” said Murray.

For 31 years, Murray Photo sat happily inside City Center Plaza. Since the announcement of Fox Commons things have changed.

“I think we were treated very unfairly. When we first were notified and came in, they were all excited to, as they said, have us in their vision, they want us to be here,” said Murray.

But it didn’t work out that way for Murray Photo.

“The rent would have tripled with whatever current market, so we just couldn't afford that,” said Murray.

Coupled with the popularity of online shopping, Murray knew he couldn’t stay. Alex Brewer at Boldt construction, the general contractor for Fox Commons, explains why rent would have to change drastically.

“To pay for these sorts of improvements that are happening within the building that just causes us to charge a rent that’s within market,” said Brewer. “Any of the other tenants that have elected to leave we worked to negotiate the rent and the term.”

It wasn’t enough for Murray Photo or other stores like Sue Hawkinson, Faces Eyewear, Squire Hair Salon, Anderson Pens, or Aunty's Cafe. Since Murray announced in October that they were closing shop, customers and friends have thanked them for their contribution to the community.

"They're all our friends and that's the hardest part,” said Murray.

Their showcases will be donated to the Appleton Historical Society and leftover equipment will be given to Appleton's Photo Opp and Oshkosh's Camera Casino. Their last day open will be November 18th.