Entrepreneurs invigorate downtown Kalamazoo with spirit
Article by Trisha Dunham published in First & 42
Makers and entrepreneurs have set up shop in Downtown Kalamazoo since the county was organized in the 1800s. Products including Gibson guitars, Shakespeare fishing rods and reels, and Checker cabs were not only dreamed-up in the city but brought to reality. Although some of these products are no longer made here, the entrepreneurial spirit never left our region.
Year-round locals and tourists can be found wandering the Kalamazoo Mall paying patronage to locally-owned shops. While across the U.S. 43 percent of small businesses have temporarily closed their doors, Kalamazoo’s city center welcomed several new businesses recently to the community.
“I think it’s a sign of resilience and hope,” said Jennifer Kitson Jelenek, chief operating officer of the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership. “This has been a very tough time across the board for businesses, for people, and for the economy. We are so thrilled to see that in light of all this, we continue to see business owners and entrepreneurs be creative, be innovative, and adapt their business models. What’s great about that is you look around and realize there’s so much skill and creativity in the community we live in.”
Two of the new businesses calling downtown Kalamazoo home are Bee Joyful Shop and Samson’s Barbershop. While both were scheduled to open their doors earlier in the year, the shop owners made use of the delay by sticking to their entrepreneurial spirit and innovating.Read more