Business District Improvement

We are lucky to have businesses so close to our homes. Ideally with that proximity, you could walk to a lot of places (especially with gas prices getting ever higher). Have you found a good neighborhood restaurant nearby, or a coffee house to meet your friends at? Even better—there’s shopping just down the street!

Here’s more information about the N. Monroe Business Association.

Our neighborhood is improving. Some great new businesses have opened in the last year. If businesses in our area can make it, they will help to improve our neighborhood by attracting more income, and in the process, improve the value of our homes. By supporting our local shops, we create a win-win for everyone.

It is for this reason that the Emerson Garfield Neighborhood Council has created a goal of helping improve our business districts. We are starting with a focus on N. Monroe and recently did a “Business Walk” to learn more about what is currently there and what needs to be addressed.

Four members of EGNC participated in a two-hour walk up N. Monroe on Saturday, July 16. We visited about 20 businesses from Montgomery St. to Euclid Ave. We were pleasantly surprised by the positive responses we got from the businesses we visited. (Some places were not open so we weren’t able to get feedback from their management.) Generally they reported sales were good in this area.

Several new businesses that had opened over the last year. Napa Autoparts recently moved about eight blocks North on Monroe. They said it was a huge improvement over their previous “felony flats” location.

We saw some themes:

  • A cluster of furniture shops mixing antiques with new inventory and some vintage clothing.
  • There is a new frozen yogurt store called “The ChillSpot” and a recently remodeled “Waffle House.”
  • There are two recording studio/musician booking companies and two tattoo parlors—all with a steady flow of clients.
  • Also a new beauty school has opened near a clothing manufacturing company. We have pet grooming salons too.

Biggest problems were as follows:

  • Vacant buildings—leaving gaps in service areas. We lack of a good neighborhood dinner spot.
  • Sidewalks were old and narrow without much of a shoulder between four lanes of traffic.
  • Some criminal activity including graffiti and vandalism—but it seemed to be cleaned up quickly.
  • Building facades need updating and “a facelift.”
  • Lack of greenery, trees or sidewalk plants.

The EGNC has the following plans to help improve N. Monroe business district:

  • Work with the city for rehabilitation funding for this business district– we are one of the top three they are considering this year!
  • Attend some N. Monroe Business District meetings to coordinate efforts.
  • Discuss fairs or neighborhood events on this street to improve the connection between residents and their business district.
  • Include a link to the current map of N. Monroe businesses on our website and linking to business web pages.
  • Post photos from our recent “Business Walk” on our Face Book site.
  • Reach out to residents to find people who might start-up business on this street.
  • Negotiate for Community Development grants and/or SBA loans from local bank. Currently the Small Business Association (SBA) is providing great incentives for small businesses—especially those owned by veterans, minorities and women.