Reviving Downtown Elkhart through alliances

An Elkhart resident and business owner created a merchant alliance group to create a stronger downtown for residents and merchants.

“One of my fondest memories was right where we are standing, right on this street, Main Street. I got my start in how to work, right there as a shoe shine boy on that street,” said Peter Recchio.

Recchio started working downtown at eight-years-old. Now he owns The Black Crow on Main with his wife Dawn.

They have been in business for two years.

 Recchio has taken his role as business owner a step further by creating the Downtown Merchant Alliance.

“We have been down here long enough to recognize that events stir traffic, traffic spurs sales, and sales are what keeps you in business,” said Recchio.

Recchio, along with 19 other business owners in the Merchant Alliance, plan to increase the frequency of activities in Downtown Elkhart and share the cost of advertising for the events.

They started this past weekend with The Gateway Mile Christmas.

“It was a very festive atmosphere and extremely successful for those of us who participated. Elkhart downtown was rocking!” said Recchio.
The event offered customers special deals and even Santa Claus stopped by. Recchio says theme attractions will be planned monthly.

“As we increase these events succession throughout a calendar year we will draw more people Downtown to recognize the opportunities to live, work, and play here,” said Recchio.

And others in the community are starting to see an improvement in their downtown business district.

Keri Andrews, an Elkhart resident says “I think it's gotten better over time and if they keep doing what they are doing I think it will just improve and get more people down here.”

The merchant alliance group will meet in January to finalize the list of events for 2015.
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