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Godspeed, area economic developers

Alpena’s retail scene has taken a beating in recent years, with the loss of J.C. Penney, Peeble’s, Neiman’s Family Market, and, soon, the Alpena Mall.

But, as News staff writer Steve Schulwitz reported recently, Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Mike Mahler is in talks with several major retailers — Target, Marshall, T.J. Maxx, and others — that could lead to some $40 million in investment if they come to fruition. Projects are in the works for the commercial district on M-32 and others for downtown.

Mahler said the loss of the mall — which happened because manufacturing hub I2P needed room to grow and purchased the building — could actually help the hunt for retailers, who are attracted to a solid job base.

“There are an awful lot of things that need to happen for these things to come to fruition, but it is nice to have Alpena squarely in the sites of some of these developers,” Mahler said. “These are developers from downstate who have a focus on this market.”

We wish Mahler and other economic developers in our region well. A strong retail sector helps bring new people in and keep people here, which benefits us all.

In the meantime, we urge every reader to do all they can to support our local retailers. There are plenty of places to buy Christmas gifts right here at home while supporting your neighbors, and we hope our readers take advantage.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)

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