Let's talk about the elephant in the room shall we? Without naming names, there are businesses that have hurt the downtown economy because of its appearance. Once a beautiful building that might have housed a shop, restaurant or service and attracted many locals and visitors to its doors is now dark, dusty and deserted in appearance.
As a newspaper, people turn to us for discussion about issues that concern the community. However, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise is not the Better Business Bureau and we try to avoid printing consumer complaints. Most are verbal complaints, but if written we forward them on to the business owner(s) and hope they will be responsible and address the complaint.
Business owners who have spruced up their buildings with paint, sweep their sidewalk and welcomed customers in with a friendly greeting could encourage their neighbor to do the same. People visit or move to towns for the ambience and friendly feeling they get when they walk the streets. If treated well while browsing or stopping to dine, we have an opportunity to impress them. By investing in your business by fixing it up will boost business.
What can be done? Saranac Lake village can't do anything unless it is a code violation, but they can apply for grant programs such as the New York State Main Street Program that provides a 50/50 matching grant for facade improvements. or low-interest loans as were awarded in the '90s. It was the New York State Main Street Program award in 2005 that approximately 18 businesses took advantage of that helped make huge improvements to the appearance of downtown, with 50/50 matching grant. Jeremy Evans of the Saranac Lake Community Development office has been applying for this grant in hopes of being awarded it again. Evans said, "Many business owners have been requesting help for improvements and we are applying for a $400,000 grant. We have one available now for apartment owners."
We encourage businesses and landlords with empty store windows to dress them up with displays from local organizations. Whether you are selling or trying to boost business, improving the appearance will make a world of difference and impress people to return.
One more thing that will welcome people to come back to our area, and it doesn't cost anything just smile and say "hello."