What's on your wish list?
We have so many amazing businesses here, and I'm personally able to make nearly all of my purchases locally. But it's human nature to want what you don't have. I hear from many of you about your wishes for businesses in Grinnell.
I'm currently hearing a lot of wishes for more retail stores. I couldn't agree with you more - how great would it be to have a downtown crammed with a variety of shops? It's no secret that we have some empty storefronts right now, and I know we would all love to see successful businesses in them.
However, retail is changing. Our community will never support all of the retail it did in the past. Today's retailers generally need much smaller storefronts than they used to (if any storefront at all), they require a high volume of foot traffic, they compete not only with their neighbors but also with every online retailer. If we're going to have more shopping, we as a community need to get creative. We also need to support the stores we already have.
It's not easy to own a retail store. Not only can it be high risk, but it's also a lot of work. My husband and I have owned Gamers, the video game store downtown, for about a year and a half now. We are in the minority of young people that want to operate a bricks and mortar store. While profit margins are shrinking, customers also have so many more options than they used to, and right at their fingertips. I know. We operate a physical store in Grinnell, but a substantial portion of our sales occur on eBay. We ship to people all over the country. Those people aren't buying from their local store, they are buying from their phone. Are you ordering things online that can be found locally?
I hear all of your wishes for more shopping, and I so badly want a magic wand that could make it happen overnight. Filling more storefronts, assisting businesses in jeopardy, and helping existing businesses with succession planning are all at the top of the chamber of commerce's list of goals. If you are a potential business owner or a current one, please reach out and ask us how we can support you.
I know you have a list of businesses you wish we had in Grinnell. So today is a chance to chime in. I made a short survey so you can tell me what's on your list:
P.S. Jingle Bell Holiday, our annual holiday shopping kick-off event, is one week from today. Please bring your families to the festivities and visit the businesses who are staying open late and planning extra activities just for you.