Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1094615

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 17, 2014

Coffee, conversation generates buzz about business growth

By Xiomara Levsen | Dec 20, 2013

An open coffee hour was held in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 19, to discuss ideas of what businesses could be brought to downtown.

Several tables were filled with people who wanted to talk about ideas they have for bringing more retail downtown.

June Henderson, who has kitchen items for sale in The Village, said her business was just starting to do well because of the season but she would still like to see more retail stores around the square.

Don Hedley, who lives by the square, said he would like to see more retail development downtown as well. This became the first topic of the open coffee hour.

Angi Staley, manager of the soon-to-be-closed Edge 2 store, asked if anyone was interested in collaborative ideas.

“I’m here because I’m interested in collaborative ideas, like pairing the bike shop with a sports shop” she said. “Or a jewelry shop with a bakery so people can shop for diamonds while they’re having a bite to eat.”

Henderson said she liked the idea Staley had and asked if Staley had approached the bike shop about doing that.

Staley said she has spoken to the owners and has approached other business owners in the community about her idea.

Hedley asked Staley what it would take for her to run a store again.

“Money,” she said.

“How much?” Hedley asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t have a clear vision of what I really want to do yet.”

Hedley asked Staley what she would need again to open a storefront in the square. Staley said she would need a business partner and support from the community. She said she felt as if she would receive support from community members if she opened up her own store, but wasn’t ready to take the step yet.

Another topic that came up was how to get more people to come and shop downtown around the square.

The group as a whole agreed advertising was the key.

 

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