The City of Houghtonâ??s new Business Development Director, Susie Landers, is focusing on retention and recruitment of downtown businesses.
The city that started its streetscape makeover just a few years ago is propelling itself to vibrancy through small business successes.
â??A lot of people think downtowns are dying, theyâ??re starting to dwindle away,â?? said Landers. â??Well, Iâ??m here to tell you that downtown Houghton is not dying.â??
Dozens of shops line Shelden Avenue with only a few remaining vacancies, which Landers is vigilant in filling.
â??In the next month, we will see three new businesses officially opening, and theyâ??re not services businesses. These are businesses that are going to attract people when visitors come into town,â?? she explained. â??Thereâ??s going to be more shopping, more retail.â??
More people are living downtown as well. An estimated 90 percent of the 450 apartments downtown are occupied.
With two universities outlying the city, the convenience of having stores within walking distance is a major plus.
â??It does support the students coming in because theyâ??re coming up and they donâ??t have vehicles,â?? Landers explained. â??They can live downtown, and pretty much whatever they need is right now becoming at their fingertips.â??
Landers said itâ??s the camaraderie of the businesses and community that keeps Houghton on the map. She expects it will only get better with time.
â??I am seeing that people are realizing that you have to support your community because theyâ??re what supports you,â?? she said. â??I feel like weâ??re on goal, weâ??re on point because weâ??re providing, weâ??re listening. We want downtown Houghton to be your downtown.â??
Susie Landers can be reached at her office at 523 Shelden Avenue or at (906) 370-3110.