Corner of Grand River Ave Port Huron photo by C. Wiegand

Will Our Local Economy Recover? It’s Partly Up to Us

Whatever you think of the way the government has handled the pandemic, there is no doubt that many small businesses have been financially  devastated. Small business has been under pressure for decades.

First, the advent of the mall and the big box stores shuttered many downtowns, which were often the center of the small business community. People old enough can remember the massive sidewalk sales in downtown Port Huron. The demise of that event alone demonstrates the impact of malls and big box stores on small business.

Then came Amazon! As if it were not hard enough already, online shopping took off like a rocket. However, in the next few years,  something amazing started happening. Malls began to lose their appeal and downtowns began to flourish again.  \

Thanks to the hard work and vision of people like the Witt’s and Larry Jones, downtown Port Huron started to come alive. Next came a second wave of revitalization led by Sperry’s Movie House, CityFlats Hotel, SC4’s college dorms ,and a new SC4 Field House. Downtown Port Huron was on a roll!

Then came the coronavirus. Businesses closed up, and people disappeared from the sidewalks.  So where does that leave us? What is our local business recovery plan? Businesses and residents finally need to get serious about shopping and doing business locally. We all talk about it, but the truth is, we don’t always practice what we preach.

Will we recover? How fast will we recover? Part of the answer lies in how we spend the money in our own pocket books and how much we start shopping in our own community!

Reporting for WGRT – Marty Doorn