Business district continuing to grow

Published 2:53 am Saturday, September 25, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Even with all the construction going on in downtown Niles, new businesses are still moving to the downtown area.
Since April, 14 new businesses have opened in the downtown area, with two more scheduled to open in the fall, while six have closed or moved to new locations, according to Lisa Croteau, director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
AMS Mortgage Services, Inc., 311 E. Main St., held a grand opening service Friday morning, inviting local residents to visit the location and meet the staff.
Niles Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ronald Sather said that openings like that are becoming a more common and welcome occurrence in downtown Niles.
The construction isn't scaring away new businesses either, Sather said.
The chamber of commerce typically has two to three business owners apply for membership each week. An overwhelming majority of them are new business owners who have just moved to the area, Sather said.
But available space is going fast. Croteau said that there are only 13 open spaces for new businesses out of the 106 total spaces in the area.
The main street district extends from Sycamore Street to Broadway, Front Street to Fifth Street, and Second and Front streets to Cass Street, forming a sort of L shape, Croteau said.
Second Street north of Main street has great potential for growth, she added. Second Street Dance Club recently opened in the plaza which currently houses a Sav-A-Lot and General Dollar Store.
With the new Ready theater complex opening in the old Wonderland building on Front Street, Croteau said she could see the area developing into an entertainment district in the near future.
But the downtown area is not the only area in Niles experiencing a boom in new business openings.
Sather said there are many grand openings planned for businesses like Lowes Home Improvement and McDonald's in the coming months, with more being scheduled every day.