Vasilis and Yoyogi Sushi, two Main Street staples, have emerged as overwhelming favorites among the residents of the Kentlands, Lakelands and Quince Orchard Park communities, as determined by the city of Gaithesburg's Main Street Survey given to the mayor and City Council Monday.
The survey ranked the top 10 Main Street shops, among other things, based on community response. Vasilis was ranked No. 1 with 45.8 percent of the vote. Yoyogi was No. 2 with 38.3 percent.
The resident survey was mailed to 4,400 households in the three neighborhoods and 665 were completed, one of the highest return rates seen for a city-sponsored survey, said Director of Economic Development Tom Lonergan.
The surveys were designed to generate opinions on the perceptions and quality of Main Street’s commercial sector, as well as to propagate recommendations on how to enhance its appeal and strengthen its performance as a shopping and dining destination, according to city documents.
Residents were also asked what type of businesses they'd like to see more of along Main Street. Restaurants (65.4 percent) and bookstores (60 percent) received the most support.
Lonergan said he also received feedback that residents aren't interested in chain restaurants, but prefer more unique, niche locations such as the recently opened Not Your Average Joe's.
When dining outside of Main Street, most preferred Washingtonian Center/Rio (35 percent) as the next best alternative, followed by other Gaithersburg restaurants (28 percent), traveling to Bethesda (27 percent), Rockville (20 percent) and Washington, DC (10 percent).
The preferred shopping destination for residents of the three neighborhoods is Montgomery Mall (37 percent), according to the survey. Other choice locations included Washingtonian Center (32 percent), Rockville/Bethesda shops (13 percent), Tyson's Corner (9 percent) and Lakeforest Mall (7 percent).
The city is "obviously very hopeful" the new owners of Lakeforest will help improve its ranking, Lonergan said.
The survey also highlighted residents' top 5 likes and dislikes of the Main Street commercial corridor. Kentlands, Lakelands and Quince Orchard Park residents enjoy Main Street's walkability, convenience/proximity, quaint/neighborhood feel, small and independent businesses and safety.
The same resident responders were not impressed by Main Street's variety of shopping, too many hair and nail salons, empty storefront windows, insufficient parking and traffic.
Most of the feedback was exactly what Kentlands Downtown Partnership President Joe Pritchard was expecting.
"It's interesting to see these numbers," Pritchard said. "It's what we felt on a gut reaction and there weren't a lot of surprises."
Additional results and statistics from the survey can be viewed on the city of Gaithersburg website.
What are your thoughts about Kentlands' Main Street commercial corridor? What are your favorite/least favorite businesses? What would you like to see more of and how can the area be improved? Tell us in the comments!