2017-07-20 / Editorial

Business climate clearly on upswing

In the classic film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” an old man asserts, “I’m not dead yet” when another tries to dispose of him during the “Bring Out Your Dead” scene.

Perhaps that same sentiment applies to downtown Jamestown, which just a couple of years ago was spoken about in the same terms as that old man (“You’ll be stone dead in a moment”). People bemoaned the empty storefronts, the recently closed businesses and how fewer folks seemed to go to the village to eat and shop.

Yet, a funny thing happened before someone came to claim the body. The patient got better – much better.

In the past year-plus, numerous businesses have opened, from the new restaurant at the Bay Voyage to several up and down Narragansett Avenue. Some are boutique retail shops, like Vin Oliva, Rum Runner and Live & Learn. Some cater to our population’s distinct interests, such as Fuller Art and Frame Galley and Sensible Yacht Cordage.

The Bomes Theatre, long dormant save for the Chinese restaurant, now is the home to a handful of businesses offering professional services, as well as a larger space for Island Heron’s yoga studio.

What most of these newcomers have in common is they aren’t seasonal, tourism-based businesses and, therefore, hopefully will thrive year-round. That’s also good news for other downtown shops and restaurants because the more unique offerings the island has, the more likely it is to attract visitors from neighboring communities, which will boost their revenues as well.

Add to that the soon-to-be improved parking lot at East Ferry and the downtown is much more vibrant and enticing than it was just a mere two years ago.

We welcome all of these new endeavors and wish them good luck. Our downtown is far from dead. While it did have some setbacks, in the words of the Black Knight: “It’s just a scratch. I’ve had worse.”

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