I saw a show on KSDK talking about the Macklind Avenue Business District, so I went and checked it out a few months back. It is relatively small, but it has a cool mixture of local businesses. No McDonalds here.
Streets like these are what gets people out of their cars and walking to do their basic shopping.
Below is an example of your typical, stable Southwest St. Louis street with tidy homes within two minutes of a coffee shop and deli.
Check out the beer selection at the Macklind Avenue Deli. Not quite as good as the place on Jefferson in McKinley Heights, but still respectable; they need more German and Belgian brews.
You can even worship within walking distance of your house.