Finding possibility in empty buildings


Claire Meyer

The Aaron’s building is approximately 11,083 square feet and was built in 2003.

The windows are unthinkably dirty. A sign on the door reads something to the extent of “moved to Amarillo.” The sad little building sits empty, abandoned and most importantly, full of possibilities.

The former Aaron’s Rent to Own building on 23rd Street has sat vacant for numerous years, unused and untouched. When I began to work at United late this spring, I took notice of the lonely furniture store. I passed the building nearly every day and thus, it was kept in the front of my mind. I thought about all the things it had the potential to become and before long, I had an entire list of ideas. Canyon, while impressively full of small-town places like a museum, coffee shop and a bookstore, could benefit from a few more recreational services.

The sad little building sits empty, abandoned and most importantly, full of possibilities.”

— Claire Meyer, 12

For instance, Canyon has no shortage of eateries, but we lack a true Italian restaurant. Not pizza or a fast food place, but a sit-down, fancy place. Fine dining is limited to a few places on the square and it would be quite convenient to have another place to take visiting family members expecting entertainment. A new Italian eatery would broaden both the span of food variety and the spread of upscale dinners. Not only that, but such an idea would require very little change to the building itself, only a bit of redecorating.

Another attainable upgrade for the former Aaron’s is a bit more abstract. A gallery of sorts, a place where people can make, appreciate, sell, and buy art, is much needed in Canyon. It would allow for a place of sharing and showcasing. Farmers’ markets do this to some extent, but a gallery would further push for recognition of the arts, which in a small town is deeply appreciated. This art shop could also offer classes, which is a shoo-in tourist attraction.

Video gaming could draw some serious attention. While the wonderful Recreation curbs the appetite for punching buttons on a controller, I think a fully decked out arcade could be very popular. The art of gaming has never gone out of style, setting up an arcade as a good source of revenue for Canyon. It would also be, plainly and straightforwardly, fun. Old games, new games, those dancing games that seem to eternally exist in places they shouldn’t be, could all find a home in said arcade, bringing both nostalgia and modernism to a perfect gathering place for the nerds of all kinds.

For those last-minute dashes to the midnight release with friends, this theater would be a cinch.”

— Claire Meyer, 12

My last thought, my personal favorite, is a two-screen movie theater. The building would require serious renovations and would be quite small, but that’s all Canyon really needs. While I have no quarrel with Hollywood 16 (in fact it’s one of my favorite places), a theater in the Aaron’s building would allow citizens to stay local, keep money in Canyon rather than Amarillo. It would be convenient and a true source of entertainment for the whole town. For those last-minute dashes to the midnight release with friends, this theater would be a cinch. It could even show indie films and host festivals surrounding cinema that would attract many customers.

Whatever the case may be, endless possibilities lie within those brick walls, and each person may have ideas other than those listed here. What the building could become is simply astonishing. The sad and tragic rumor, however, is that a certain store that sells their goods for a dollar or so has bought the building, and it will likely be what it was always meant to be: a retail store. I have to admit, the parallelism is somewhat poetic, but I will always dream about what could have been.