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Downtown business owners form alliance

Members of the Downtown Association in Plattsburgh meet for the second time at Champlain Wine Company on City Hall Place on June 28.

Members of the Downtown Association in Plattsburgh meet for the second time at Champlain Wine Company on City Hall Place on June 28. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Downtown business owners are taking the vitality of the city into their own hands in a grassroots effort to make the city center a destination.

Around 20 people from several Plattsburgh businesses gathered at the Champlain Wine Company, 8 City Hall Place, for their second official Downtown Business Visitors Association meeting on June 27.

“We want to create an atmosphere to help revitalize the downtown,” said Colin Read, owner of the Champlain Wine Company, prior to the meeting. “We don’t want to focus on taxes or city practices; we want to focus on creating a fun place for visitors to come.”

Right now, Read said the businesses that are thriving are accounting, law and other kinds of firms. Though these businesses are important for the city, he said they are not businesses people travel from out of town to visit.

“There are still a few open storefronts here. It would be great for people to come and find a niche that is missing here and build a business,” said Read.

The Association members decided to focus initial efforts on the First Weekend celebrations and to creating a map to outline all businesses downtown.

“A lot of people don’t know what’s downtown, and while they are at my business waiting to get their car worked on, they can see the different shops downtown,” said Bill Ferris, owner of Big Apple Audio on Durkee Street.

Ferris said one of the best types of advertisement would be for the businesses to promote each other.

“People downtown tend to walk,” said Ferris. “People come downtown for a local experience, going to Walmart and the mall aren’t local experiences.”

Business maps would have the name of the business with a small blurb to describe the products or food available there. The maps could lead people down new streets they have never explored in downtown Plattsburgh. Currently there are business maps provided by the City Recreation Department and several information kiosks downtown, but an expanded map could tell people more about their downtown.

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