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'Saranac Lake, Inc.' initiative targets retail developers

Evans says Saranac Lake can get overlooked by retailers due to its small size. That's why reaching out to certain franchises is a good idea, Evans says, adding that sometimes if you tell them a community is a good fit, they listen.

Rabideau says retail developers also look for communities with "shovel-ready" sites. He says that presents a challenge to the village due to the small size and relative unavailability of shovel-ready parcels.

"For instance, take the so-called sand pit behind Aldi's and McDonalds," Rabideau said. "It's far from shovel-ready, even though it may present acreage, it does not yet fit the definition of shovel-ready for retail development."

Rabideau says village officials will begin looking at properties and determine how to make them more presentable to retail developers.

The initiative would also establish an online database of all available commercial properties located in the village. Rabideau says developers and property owners will be able to access the database in order to advertise commercial property currently on the market.

Saranac Lake, Inc. establishes a small business loan program for entrepreneurs that are looking to add new jobs.

The plan also allows for the creation of business kiosks throughout the village and includes downtown walkabouts - video tours that feature various local businesses.

Trustee Allie Pelletieri asked how the Saranac Lake, Inc. initiative would fit with what the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce currently does.

Jeremy Evans says the chamber will be a partner, but the village proposal also helps businesses that don't belong to the chamber.

"We want to partner with them, but we want to focus on village businesses, whereas their members have a broader reach," he said. "In the chamber's position, you have to pay to be a member. And although they promote business village-wide, they're limited on what they can do for individual businesses if they're not a chamber member."

Evans says the village initiatives specifically target village needs at little to no cost.

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