Feeling bright about downtown Toledo

Reported by Jonathan Walsh email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Dozens of downtown businesses have left the area, but business owners who've decided to hang in there are feeling positive, they say.

"I think there's big potential for young people if they had imagination," said Connie Horn, owner of Grumpy's, a downtown restaurant.

When Horn sees empty storefronts and buildings, she says she doesn't see despair but a chance for people to get a great deal on property.

"Boy, is it cheaper to live in Toledo, Ohio, and do the same business you'd do in New York, Denver or whatever," Horn said. She and her husband have owned Grumpy's for the past 25 years.

Near Grumpy's is another business owner who's happy to be downtown.

"Getting together and making it a neighborhood and it really feels like a neighborhood. I view it as just a little bit of paradise," said Ann Albright, owner of the Swan Creek Candle Shop. She says she's ready for projects in downtown to take flight.

"I'm looking forward to the arena opening and the news about Swan Creek development and all the other positive things keep me very optimistic," Albright said.

Bruce Rumpf is the CEO of Job1USA at the corner of Erie and Jefferson. He says private businesses have their work cut out for them and that the arena is a key component.

"It's the most important economic tool that we have. We have 15 months before it's completed and I do believe that's the time for the business community to step up and provide that kind of leadership," Rumpf said.