Working to keep Elmwood vibrant and strong

Posted at 7:04 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 19:11:04-04

For 17 years, Spoiled Rotten has been a staple of the Elmwood Village. The announcement Monday it would soon be shutting its doors was difficult news for some in the neighborhood.

"We're really sad to lose and say farewell to Spoiled Rotten," Ashley Smith, executive director of the Elmwood Village Association said. "But, we're not saying farewell to Katharine. Katharine owns the property there and is staying involved. She's going to be joining our board."

Katharine Jemison owns Spoiled Rotten. A post on the store's Facebook page indicated plans to "work very hard to find a new business that will suit the neighborhood's needs".

"I was sad to hear that," Susan Morreale, who owns Her Story on Elmwood Avenue, said. "But, I wasn't totally shocked. I feel like all of us have been feeling that a little bit."

Her Story features a wide variety of things like beauty products, jewelry and clothing. It has a focus on local products and everything is made by women. Every month, a different woman business owner from WNY is featured in the shop.

"It's very unique," Morreale said. "When you come in here everything has a story behind it. It's really nice connecting with people and sharing the story."

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses like Morreale's is online shopping. Fewer people are supporting small businesses or buying local, she said.

"A lot of people are shopping online," Morreale said. "They want it quicker. They're busy. They're lives are busy."

The Elmwood Village Association works with small business owners, providing them resources to be more competitive in today's market.

"[We] bring them learning opportunities," Smith explained. "You can't expect a small business owner to know everything, but they really have to be a jack of all trades to be successful in today's climate."

The association takes a comprehensive approach to the neighborhood. It works with both neighbors and business owners to try and make it a better place for all to live, work and visit.

Interested stakeholders in the Elmwood Village community are invited to take a strategic planning survey arranged by the association. You can find the survey here.

There are plans to plant additional street trees and repaint certain storefronts in the Elmwood Village. The goal is to make the whole area more welcoming and walkable.

"That's really what we're focused on is making this a place where people want to get out of their cars and enjoy the walk," Smith said. "So that they're not as concerned about being able to park immediately in front of the store they want to visit."

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