MAPLEWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – A Maplewood landlord continues to build his empire.

Rob Birenbaum recently bought two more buildings, bringing his total to 14, 13 of which are in downtown Maplewood.

Birenbaum says the city will continue to be a restaurant destination but two other groups are growing: independent boutiques and food purveyors.

“Great Harvest, Kakao Chocolate, Pie Oh My, Strange Donuts, Penzey’s. They’re food-related but they’re not really restaurants,” he explains.

Birenbaum believes city officials in Maplewood make it easy to go into business, a reason more young people are setting up shop in the city and areas like South Grand and Cherokee Street in St. Louis.

“There’s really not a municipality in St. Louis where it’s easier to open a business than Maplewood, nor is there one more welcoming and supportive and helpful once they’re operating,” he said.

He uses his years in retail to advise and nurture his tenants, saying he views them like employees. He also works to avoid turnover, hoping his tenants grow and contribute to the neighborhood.

“Because what’s good for Maplewood is good for me.”


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