How Local Business Ownership Impacts Our Community
Close your eyes and imagine you are strolling down Superior Street, from Michigan Avenue to Ash Street. Look around, take in the shops, and storefronts on your left and your right. Do you notice how unique and valuable each business is?
Locally owned businesses are what sets Albion and any other community apart. Each locally-owned business adds something unique to the community that you cannot find anywhere else. Locally owned businesses contribute to Albion’s sense of identity. Caroline Hurteau, a project manager for ARC, said, “Local businesses add a feeling of belonging to our community. Businesses owned by our neighbors tend to build strong relationships with their customers. Being able to walk into a business and be greeted by name or recognized by the staff helps us all feel more connected, especially in a world that continues to feel more and more disconnected.”
Local business ownership is crucial, especially in towns like Albion. An economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that counties with larger amounts of locally owned small businesses tend to outperform other counties on three critical economic indicators including, 1. having higher per capita income growth, 2. faster employment growth, and 3. lower poverty rates. The shops downtown are not over-run by big box stores that know nothing about the community. Many of Albion’s business owners are families, friends, and neighbors. They care about the community because they are a part of the community. Think about the local business owners in Albion. Most of those business owners are community leaders who have contributed to the community and revitalization of downtown.
These locally owned businesses help create a sense of community. Whether it be over a beer, bagel, book, or burrito, small businesses create common spaces where community members connect through shared experiences. As they currently stand, many of the remaining storefronts downtown are rundown and unusable, preventing more small businesses from moving in. Albion Reinvestment Corporation has worked diligently on planning and fundraising for the Big Albion Plan, set to rehabilitate more than 20 commercial storefronts along Superior Street. Together, we can bring the vision of a thriving, vibrant, and unique Albion community to life. We have the building blocks, let’s start building together.