Several Garden City downtown businesses buy goods from one another. They use these items from other merchants to make food, soap and beer to resell. By helping each other, these merchants are helping the downtown to thrive. They are revitalizing their community.
“When our neighbors are doing well, we are all doing well,” said Alicia Gian-Maciulis, the owner of Roots Juice Co. & Wellness Studio. “We don’t want empty store fronts. We want unique stores and restaurants so people come here for a unique experience. We want it to be experiential.”
There are 140 businesses in the Garden City downtown corridor, with 10 new businesses opening last year and five more in 2019.
“In 2018 our sales tax was up 3 percent from the previous year in downtown,” said Shelia Crane, the executive director of Downtown Vision. “Although our final sales tax numbers for 2019 will not be in until January, we would expect a similar trend for 2019.”
The sales tax revenue goes back into the community. By buying products in town, consumers are supporting their city. Downtown storefronts and restaurants supply jobs, advertise and support school athletics and drama. Local businesses have a greater impact in growing the local economy.
“There’s a huge investment in any downtown that already exists in your community already,” said Kathy La Plante, senior program officer for National Main Street Center. “It would cost millions of dollars to replace it. It’s where you’re most historic and unique buildings are.”
Along with the benefits of supporting one another through the sale of products, is the benefit of friendship and camaraderie. Erica Kuhlmeier, the owner of Flourish Herbals and Aromatherapy, usually walks over to SageHouse Bath & Body once a week and discusses new ideas. The two owners' brainstorming led to Jessica Gallardo, of SageHouse, giving workshops in soapmaking and candlemaking in January at Nourish.
“We (the storeowners) all feel like family,” Kuhlmeier said.
The downtown of any city is where community relationships and family memories can be created — including during parades. Every city across the country has big box stores on their fringes, but a strong downtown shows off the community pride and character. The downtown demonstrates each town and city’s uniqueness.
“It’s huge to cooperate with the other downtown businesses because we are a tight knit community,” Rob Gardiner, front of house manager of Flat Mountain Brewhouse. “It gives us the opportunity to put out really inventive products.”
Buying from one another
Many merchants in Garden City’s downtown are taking this shop local trend one step further. They are buying products from the store next to them or down the street or around the corner. Roots Juice Co. pressed 100 pounds of raspberries for Flat Mountain Beer.
“Instead of using syrups, they used fresh juice,” said Gian-Maciulis, the owner of Roots. “People got the health benefit as well as the flavor.”
Whether it is buying a product for resale or to make a beer or soap from, downtown merchants understand that the more people they bring in, the more their neighbor benefits and vice versa.
“We’re always open for new things,” said Mia Bernal, manager of Patrick Dugan’s Coffee House. “We work together to try to target the people who are willing to come downtown and shop.”
Patrick Dugan’s supplied Flat Mountain Brewhouse with 10 gallons of coffee to place in their beer. They bought cake pops from Not Your Mama’s Cake Pops to sell at events, and next year, they are planning to work with SageHouse Body & Bath.
Several of these businesses use The Good Sport, AJ Graphics and Colleen’s Trophies, Awards & Gifts for producing their business cards, T-shirts and coffee and travel mugs.
“If we can help each other, then we all do better,” Gian-Maciulis said. “I feel like downtown does a really good job at supporting each other.”