“It’s a natural opportunity for us to get some exposure, and we’ve closed loans for people we’ve met at First Fridays,” Minick said.
“We’re not a retail business, so moving down here wasn’t going to make or break our success, but we wanted to try and find ways to capitalize on being here, and it’s been great.”
Downtown is different these days, they say, than 10 years ago. For one thing, Main Street isn’t a timed-stoplight highway heading one-way south anymore. Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight’s decision to revert the streets to two-way traffic was crucial, they said.
“If that hadn’t happened, there’s zero chance we would be having this conversation right now,” Minick said.
So downtown gets another anchor business, sandwiched in between Granson Jewelers and the Bohemian Tattoo Club.
Talking to Minick and DeLon, it’s apparent the pleasant surprise of hundreds of Kokomoans strolling the streets during First Fridays hasn’t worn off yet. They’re making plans to keep the festivals rolling year-round, possibly even adding a main stage or applying for street closures.
“I think you have to keep mixing it up, so it stays fresh. You can’t just stay open until 9,” Minick offered.
And the optimism over downtown is matched by their optimism over their business. After several down years, the industry is starting to come back. Lenders are still tight on credit requirements, but consumer confidence is returning, Minick said.
“There’s been a big shift this year,” he said. “I think the market has changed dramatically.”
Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.