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The Canton Merchants Association hopes to put more retail shops and eateries on Main Street. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29781788@N00/8687082133/">wabisabi2015</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The Canton Merchants Association hopes to put more retail shops and eateries on Main Street. Photo: wabisabi2015, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Merchants to give downtown Canton a new spark

There's something missing on Main Street in Canton: it doesn't feel "downtown" enough. That's the concern among some local business owners in the village.

So a handful of them teamed up to form the Canton Merchants Association.

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Reported by

Zach Hirsch
Reporter and Producer

Rainbow Crabtree co-owns Nature’s Storehouse on Main Street, and she’s the lead organizer of the Canton Merchants Association. She says the tiny group of five is motivated, "as business owners and as community members, to get involved."

The business owners have met only once so far, and they haven’t yet mapped out how they’ll turn Canton into a destination town. But Crabtree says there is plenty of infrastructure to work with.

"There’s a lot of vacant buildings on Canton," she said. "We’re looking to bring businesses to downtown Canton to fill the empty vacant spots that are there."

She’s not trying to get just any business to move into the heart of the village. She says they need to offer shopping or food options, to make people actually want to make the trip to Main Street.

"I think what we’re really hoping for is to bring more retail to downtown. There’s currently a lot of not-for-profits on Main Street, a lot of offices. And that can all work really well, alongside some more retail shops and eateries. I think as a group, we feel like that’s what really brings foot traffic to a community downtown," Crabtree said.

She says the group will reconvene on April 9th, to hash out a definitive strategy. In the meantime, Crabtree hopes to get more business owners and local government officials involved.

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