Main Street business owner making the best of untimely street closure
As construction crews began tearing into the former Palace City Pawn Shop on Main Street this week, a nearby business owner used her creativity to find a silver lining through it all.
Megan Suarez owns a local boutique across the street from the demolition site, and she’s offering a sale that’s dubbed the “Street Blockage Party Sale,” which will span the time the section of Main Street is closed as the building comes down. All customers who purchase an item at Adorn Boutique during the street closure will receive 15% off. In addition, customers who prove they purchased something from any local downtown business will receive a $10 gift card to Adorn that may be used on their next purchase in January.
“It’s our busiest week with Christmas approaching, and our slowest months happen right after the holidays from January to March, so having to deal with the street closing is going to be tough,” Suarez said in between helping customers at her downtown business, Adorn Boutique.
Her approach to offer the discount to customers who shop at other downtown businesses is Suarez’s way of uniting Mitchell’s Main Street, which she feels is crucial for the survival of locally owned storefronts.
“I think we need to start doing more things like this to put community over competition, because if we don’t support each other and send each other customers none of us will grow and thrive,” Suarez said. “We already help each other, but in the online shopping era we need to continue finding more ways to stay together.”
The 115 and 117 N. Main St. building that’s being torn down this week has been plagued by a corroding hole on the south side of the structure, which led to bricks falling onto the parking lot. The expected week-long demolition requires the street closure for a portion of Main Street between First and Second avenues, which has sparked frustrations for Suarez.
Considering this time of year is the peak shopping season for her business, Suarez said the timing of the street closure and demolition is not ideal.
“I’ve been told the street will be back open by Friday morning, so let’s hope that’s the case,” she said. “It’s been a tough year, because of the farming and agriculture struggles that impact our area and businesses in many ways. And if we can’t get support from some entities in the city, then we have to support each other.”
The struggles and frustrations some local downtown businesses have experienced has led to the creation of a Facebook group that serves as an outlet to vent with one another, Suarez said.
Despite the challenges of owning a Main Street business, Suarez is determined to look for more ways of rallying the community to support more local shops.
“We ask ourselves whether we want to keep our businesses in Mitchell,” Suarez said. “We hope that we can continue growing some community pride for downtown, so we can keep calling Mitchell our home.”
During Monday’s City Council meeting, Engineering Project Supervisor Terry Johnson said the street closure was initially scheduled for Tuesday but has been pushed back to Wednesday.
Johnson said the contractors began the demolition process on Monday but due to some additional work on the building the street closure was delayed.
“I was told it’s going a little slower than the contractors thought it would be,” Johnson said of the demolition. “The contractors will try to get the building down and the road back open as soon as they can.”
The sidewalk on the east side of Main Street that runs through the street closure -- which extends along Adorn Boutique and neighboring Charlie’s Shoe Repair -- will be open during the demolition project.
Council member Susan Tjarks said the nearby businesses were under the impression the road closure was going to span from Tuesday to Thursday and she asked who was in charge of notifying the impacted businesses nearby. Johnson said the contractors were tasked with notifying the businesses about the street closure change, noting a letter was also provided.
“I confirmed with the contractor that they were notified, and we’re just trying to keep the public as safe as we possibly can,” Johnson said.
With the sidewalk and public parking lot on the corner of Second and Main being open during the building tear down, Suarez said she is hopeful Christmas shoppers will utilize any available parking areas during the street closure.
“I am very thankful for the people in the community who do support local, and we can rally together to keep downtown alive,” Suarez said. “It’s a huge part of this city and for future growth.”