Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The town I live in is, like many Northeastern cities, struggling. Much of downtown resembles an abandoned war zone, although there are pockets of prosperity, and a lot going on. Sometimes, it's just hard to see it.

I attended an entrepreneurs group meeting this morning, and I know that, while things are rough right now, this town has a lot going for it, including a very low cost of doing business, good roads and accessibility to the Interstate system, cheap real estate, and a local government that will bend over backwards to attract people and businesses.

Still, it's easy to just give up and go somewhere where there's a lot of foot traffic, excitement and "buzz". 20 miles up the road, there's a town smaller than this one with a thriving business district, hardly any empty storefronts, and a supportive community that includes specialty shops, art galleries, cafes...all the things that make a downtown a true destination. I could easily double or triple my business by relocating. Granted, it would be much more expensive to do business there, but I'd almost assuredly do very well.

But I don't. I'm not a quitter. And I still believe in my adopted hometown. It's easy for me to look out my Main Street window and get demoralized. But I keep trudging along, because I still have hope. Some days, that's enough. Here's to better days ahead.


  1. Hey there's this amazing project going on in Newcastle NSW at the moment. Marcus Westbury has somehow convinced the owners of vacant buildings and shops to allow artists and other creative folk to use the premises rent free for short periods of time. I think the plan is pure genius and it really does seem to be working.

    Here's a link.

  2. ds: I read about this on your blog a while back, and I'm happy to be reminded again. I appreciate the link; I'm going to pass this on to a couple people who may be able to take this and run with it. FANTASTIC idea.

  3. There are a couple of towns in Illinois that were little satellite cities of Chicago, then they were depressed outposts, then they were depressed suburbs, then they regenerated, now they are fun little destination towns. Granted, it took like 30 years for all this to happen...

  4. über: There's a generation here that needs to die. Not literally, mind you, just their attitude. Downtown will never, ever, ever be the retail mecca it once was, but there's a lot of potential for apartments and specialty shops. It's changing, but this particular Titanic is very slow in turning to avoid the iceberg.