News 12 Talks With New Chamber President

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

October 26, 2005
Anyone who’s been downtown knows the area could use some work with empty storefronts along the sidewalk. That’s one of the challenges facing Sue Parr, the new Chamber of Commerce president. Just days after starting her job, News 12 is the first to sit down to talk about the challenges that lie ahead.

Empty shelves and bare walls line Sue Parr’s office just days after taking her role as the new president of the Chamber of Commerce.

“Haven’t had a chance to put pictures up or arrange things the way I want it,” Parr said.

And already she’s found the time to meet with the downtown development authority to see how the chamber can help revitalize the area.

“We’re all striving to make everyone’s cash registers ring,” Parr said.

Music to Charley’s ears. As the general manager of the Mocha Delights coffee shop he knows how much empty lots like this one next-door can hurt his business.

“It detracts from anyone wanting to come here to begin with,” Charley Gabel said.

You don’t have to walk more than a block down Broad Street to know there are empty lots everywhere. Businesses say it’s been like that for years, and they’re tired of looking at it.

“More empty buildings downtown is less reason for people to come and shop and spend money,” Gabel said.

“A lot of people are afraid to come down here but it’s not that bad, they just think that,” said the owner of Discount Fashions.

Hoping more of these boarded up doors will come down soon.

“I can’t wait to get another business in there. It only brings more people to 8th and Broad Street, we’re away from all of the restaurants so any business would be a benefit to us,” Gabel said.

Left to wonder if a new president in the Chamber of Commerce will be what the city needs to bring in more foot traffic downtown.

Sue Parr comes all the way from Lansing, Michigan as the former senior vice-president for their chamber.

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