Our View: Business growth points toward exciting 2017

Published 7:55 am Monday, January 23, 2017

Maybe 2017 will become known as the Year of the Local Business in Winchester and Clark County.

National headlines have been dominated in recent weeks by the struggles of America’s big-box retailers like Macy’s, Sears and The Limited, just to name a few. They are downsizing, closing their doors entirely and looking at different ways to reach consumers.

At the same time, local headlines — especially those in The Winchester Sun — have helped shine a light on something that could be a huge impact on our communities: the rebirth of downtowns and a new age for local businesses in small-town America.

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In recent days Winchester and Clark County have seen a variety of small business announcements including a distillery, several retail stores, a baked goods store and a few service-oriented businesses.

That’s great news for the community and, with consumer support of these and other initiatives, could be just the tip of the iceberg as people adjust their shopping habits and get back to the idea that dollars spent locally mean so much more to the community they call home.

Of course, online commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace but many people still prefer to physically shop.

The key is creating a positive experience that meets the ever-changing needs of consumers.

Going to downtown Winchester or a group of stores along the bypass should be about the overall result. Yes, people want to find what they are looking for but they also want to have positive human interaction with a neighbor, experience quality customer service, learn about their community and just feel part of something larger than themselves.

Winchester can do that.

We have seen great strides made in collaboration, marketing and event creation led by organizations like Main Street Winchester, the Chamber of Commerce and the business owners themselves. We applaud these efforts and hope to see more.

Historians may look back and say that 2017 was truly a turning point toward the community’s bright future.