The Revolving Door of Downtown Businesses, What's the Secret? - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

The Revolving Door of Downtown Businesses, What's the Secret?

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Many stores have come and gone in the downtown. It's a business culture that's constantly changing. So, what's the secret?

John Natoli and his business partner Fred have had their small antique business downtown for more than forty years.

"Seems like a million years," said Natoli.

And while he describes their shop as more of a hobby, the very "on and offish" business is a blessing in their eyes.

"I love it even though some months will not be great it still gets us by and keeps us happy," said Natoli.

Although he and his business have thrived many of his neighbors have come and gone quickly. Including a small shop just a few doors down. Once Bees and Buttercups the space is now a coming soon antique store.

"Apparently, it is tough to survive downtown," said Natoli.  

"Yes, you are going to have some come and go," said William Whitson, Director of the CRA downtown. "We hate that, but all in all I think we've gained more than we've lost."

Bigger businesses have bigger pockets, says Whitson, and that is something small businesses must work around to survive.

"With smaller businesses they are operating with smaller staff, and smaller margins," said Whitson. "But, that doesn't mean that they cant be successful they just have to be very strategic."

Natoli says while "Friday Fest" is a good idea, the crowds don't come back during the rest of the week and he grew tired of opening his doors just so the crowd could use his restrooms.

"If my complete livelihood depended on this," said Natoli. "It wouldn't do it." 

But discouraged is not in Natoli's dictionary, wherever that may be in his cozy downtown antique shop. He says it's hope that keeps him running.

"I'm never discouraged," said Natoli. "I'm always hopeful and that's how you learn to live a long time by continuing to be hopeful and trust that the people who are paid a lot of money to bring business downtown will be successful and hit the right... well you know."

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