I was saddened to read in The Item longtime barbershop and home of the Drifters would be leaving downtown Sumter. It's imperative that remaining cultural staples to our community study the new vision and the new market coming to the downtown area. If minority and small-owned businesses wish to remain in the area, they must learn to adjust their business structure and model to meet the demands of the changes. It's also important to stay true to your business' vision.
Revitalization and redevelopment is necessary over time, it's no secret, but we don't want to see the culture of the community change. Growing up, I've seen my grandfather, uncle, cousins, even my son get a haircut on the corner at Main Attraction downtown. I can only imagine that my grandchildren would have also gotten their haircuts at the location downtown as well. It's always been so convenient, not too many blocks from our house in west end.
Revitalization in opportunity zones boosts the local economy, and that can be good for any business. You can study the local market by attending downtown development meetings, CDBG meetings, penny sales tax meetings, etc. Many of these meetings have community feedback sessions, and they are great ways to voice your concerns as well as listen to what the community stakeholders are investing in the area. When it comes to redesigning your business plan, structure and model, this information can help you make the best decisions about your business' future.
When things change, the positive is it gives you an opportunity to try to join in and rebrand yourself. You could choose to focus on what you will lose, but don't let that distract you from what you could gain. Change is uncomfortable, but in that moment is when you can birth new ideas and begin to bring them to fruition.
The reality is that in your current business location, it took years to establish your business presence, and the thought of having to change your location can be very frustrating.
Be proactive. If you are a small or minority business in the area, try to negotiate new terms with your landlord sooner than later. If you realize you're not going to be able to negotiate, start looking for a new place as close to the old location as you can find and let your customers know.
COO and executive
Sumter Black Chamber
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