JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)—If you haven’t walked in downtown Jackson in a while chances are things look a bit different with new store signs on every corner.
“Even in the middle of a pandemic we are seeing new businesses come in left and right,” said Executive Director of Downtown Development for the City of Jackson, Cory Mays.
An area that once had many empty store fronts is seeing a resurgence of small businesses with nearly two dozen new ones popping up downtown in the last two years.
Jennifer Murphy owns Apricot Lane, a boutique that opened up just last month. She says while Covid-19 restrictions bring their own challenges, the community support that has been overwhelming.
“I’ve grown up here, and now to be a part of something this big, and huge is a phenomenal feeling, and to have this much support is so great for the community,” said Owner of the Apricot Lane Boutique, Jennifer Murphy. “It really is especially during this time”
Other small business owners like Travis Moore see the support up close every day, but with an on-going health crisis there are still plenty of challenges.
“Between strong customer support but having to shut down for the pandemic, it’s been a year of constant change,” said Owner of the Blessed Nest, Travis Moore.
Overall, downtown Jackson has been fortunate, but that’s not the case for many small businesses in the state, and that’s why today Consumers Energy announced a new program to lift up Jackson, and 55 other Michigan communities. It’s all part of a gift card program called “Our Town.”
“Consumers energy has come together with a sizable contribution, and they are doing a 2 for 1 special, so we are able to match dollar for dollar what someone spends on a gift certificate now until the money is gone,” said Mays.
The total contributions are more than a $100,00, an investment that will go right back to help out small business owners like Jennifer, and Travis. Gift cards can be bought at Jackson City Hall ,and used at any downtown business.