Business owners leading way in attracting visitors

Published 4:12 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

What would get you to visit downtown Niles? What would make you want to come back? What do the businesses need to be successful here?

Those are the questions myself and other members of the Niles Downtown Development Authority/Main Street’s Organization committee have been asking as we look at ways to support the developing Third Thursday concept in Niles.

Set to launch in May, the monthly event is led by a group of engaged downtown merchants who have truly come together to make this happen for the first time in decades. The goal is focused on helping people discover downtown Niles and the great businesses that are here.

But it’s about far more than just your standard sales and savings. This has the potential to truly be something special.

Many businesses are working on presentations, events and other special attractions designed to entertain and educate visitors, as well as get potential customers in their doors. They plan to stay open late and find ways to make this a fun event that gets better each month.

Maybe you live in Dowagiac or Cassopolis or Edwardsburg and think this doesn’t apply to you. Think again.

You are exactly who we need input from. Of course we need Niles area residents to support Third Thursday but, perhaps equally important, will be attracting residents from the surrounding communities each month.

So that brings us back to that first question: What would make you want to visit downtown Niles?

Concerts? Recreational activities? Entertainment? Food? Movies? Contests? Sales? Building or historic tours?

On the flip side, what do business owners feel would help make this event a success? Where can the DDA/Main Street provide support?

Let me know. Shoot me an email. Give me a call. Stop in even.

The organization — driven by a group of volunteers who truly just want to see the community become more prosperous and vibrant — is listening. The business owners are collaborating like never before and working hard to make this special.

Third Thursdays can be something everyone wants to be a part of and something of which everyone can be proud.


Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at