Downtown BG thriving despite closings

Despite the closing of Cosmo’s Café and El Mercado, in the past five years a net gain of 10 new eateries have emerged into the downtown area.

The closing of Cosmo’s Café and El Mercado earlier this month was a loss for the city.

“A loss of any business affects downtown. It affects the select group of consumers who have lost their place to shop or dine,” said Earlene Kilpatrick, director of Main Street BG.

Kilpatrick said Cosmo’s Café was a community place for students, residents, to hold business meetings and to meet people and the café will be missed by them.

But even though the two establishments are going to be missed there is still a net gain of businesses coming into the downtown area.

“Currently there are four businesses trying to occupy spaces in the downtown area,” Kilpatrick said. “That’s downtown, businesses are always coming and going and plans are always in the works.”

Kilpatrick went on to say if an average citizen would walk pass the two empty vacancies such as Cosmo’s Café and El Mercado they don’t see the future potential of the empty store front.

The downtown area has very few empty spaces despite the businesses which closed down.

“We have less than an estimated five percent of vacancy store fronts in downtown,” Kilpatrick said. “That’s very low compared to other comparable communities in Ohio.”

Along with Kilpatrick, Elaine Skoog, executive director of Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce agrees the downtown area has a low percentage of empty store fronts.

“We have a very low percentage of open space compared to others in Northwest Ohio or Ohio,” Skoog said. “We have excellent downtown coordinators on recruitment of leaders and keeping downtown alive.”

Skoog said downtown is in no way decreasing but emerging constantly.

“Downtown is still going to do good despite of the loss of two businesses,” she said. “We have 100 percent of store front being rented which is very positive for the downtown area.”

Additionally Sue Clark, executive director of the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation, said retail involves things which come and go but the changes are good for the economy.

“I don’t worry about the vacancies in downtown,” Clark said. “The two enterprises that closed will not stop downtown from emerging.”

The closing of Cosmo’s Café and El Mercado has affected the select group who were loyal to the two businesses.

“It is very sad the two businesses closed but next month it could be something new we all love,” Clark said.

Kilpatrick said an average resident doesn’t see the potential of an empty store front, Clark sees an empty store front to attract industries to come to the community.

“I work to bring in major industries to the community and if I didn’t have an empty building to show I wouldn’t be able to get them to come to BG,” Clark said.

Clark said it’s an advantage to have an empty store front so the enterprise will be drawn to the community and be a potential addition to the economy.

Also, Kelly Mattimoe, manager of Grounds for Thought, was sad to see Cosmo’s Café close down.

“I was very sad to see the café close down, especially it being one of the few privately owned businesses,” Mattimoe said. “It was a nice and small coffee house.

But when there is a loss there is a gain in the downtown area.

“I’ve noticed a slight flux of customers and more customers is always good for business,” Mattimoe said.

While Mattimoe is sad to see the business establishment close she hopes another business comes in.

“I feel bad for the customers, workers, and owners who have lost their place,” she said. “But I hope another coffee house comes in because more competition in good for the economy.”