by Scott Hughes, Commission Chair
As the article about the Ridgefield Main Street Program in this issue points out, the launch of that organization was fueled by an observation that while the rest of Ridgefield was going gangbusters with growth and development, our downtown was at risk of being left behind.
As the owner of two downtown Ridgefield businesses, I have a pretty good lens from which to view our downtown’s full potential. Just what is its full potential, you might ask? To me, it’s reinvigorating downtown’s role as the heart and soul of our community.
Downtown should be where you find locals running ‘mom and pop’ shops and business owners who care about this community. It’s a gathering place where people connect with each other, and therefore feel more connected to this special place. City-sponsored First Saturday events have been a great first-step.
Downtown should also be a place where innovative, flexible and customer service-minded entrepreneurs are supported and thrive.
I believe that with the help of the Ridgefield Main Street Program (and I think they are doing a fantastic job), downtown Ridgefield can reach its full potential. Our downtown can’t compete head-to-head with big box stores that will invariably spring up around Ridgefield, or those in Salmon Creek. But downtown businesses that create positive customer connections, make merchandise shifts to meet consumer demand, and offer an ambiance that appeals to a new demographic will lure a loyal clientele that appreciates the special attention they don’t receive elsewhere.
At the port, we’re working to build a first-class waterfront. To complement our waterfront, I’m hopeful we can grow our own firstclass downtown, too.