Walking or driving on Elmwood Avenue, you may have noticed a growing number of vacant storefronts. Some business owners say they've never seen the street hurting this bad. There are at least 31 vacant retail spaces on Elmwood, between Forest and Allen, according to Buffalo Common Council Member Joel Feroleto.
Feroleto and Council Member David Rivera, whose districts encompass portions of Elmwood Avenue, are creating an advisory group to deal with concerns like parking and vacancies in the business district.
"Elmwood is a great neighborhood where a lot of the existing retailers have had a longevity that should not be overlooked," Feroleto said. "Many have been there for decades and are staples in the community. We want to learn about what practices have worked best for them, and with this group create a dialogue on important issues like additional parking and how to stay competitive with many people shopping online."
Many current small business owners will likely help make up the advisory group, according to Feroleto. The goal is for those business owners to share their experiences to highlight issues in the community and come together to find ways the city can help offer possible solutions.
“Our local, small businesses are the driving force of our neighborhood commercial districts,” said Rivera.“We must look at what City Hall can improve upon to support local business districts like Elmwood to ensure our residents and visitors continue to have a healthy, vibrant neighborhood.”