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Some thoughts for promoting Glencoe, tourism

To the Editor:
My wife and I moved to Glencoe four years ago. We found out rather quickly that there isn’t much offered here from a business and shopping perspective. When family comes to visit, we either go to Hutch or Buffalo to shop or to hunt for antiques.
Previously, we lived in a small town in Pennsylvania called Lititz. It really didn’t have much to offer, either; there were several empty store fronts and nothing really going on. They decided to hire a lady to try and increase tourism and, boy, were they successful! Recently, they were voted as “America’s Coolest Small Town.”
She worked with building owners to clean up their properties and offer special rental deals to get storefronts filled. Even stores in alleys were transformed and opened for business. She utilized the love of art and antiques to turn the town into the destination place, having to close down several streets for vendors and thousands of shoppers a few times a year.
They offered a festival in February called “Fire and Ice.” Local businesses purchased large ice sculptures and displayed them for a week; then, on Friday night, the winning store would be announced. That was the ice part. On Saturday, they held a chili cook-off contest. A dozen or more locals and restaurants competed for top honors. I deejayed that party several times and hundreds of people came and spent money that weekend.
Glencoe has the “bones” to do the same thing. Let’s get our empty stores rented; plan events. This year, when the passenger train comes through, why not have a celebration waiting for them? Do a corn feed, add local produce, food vendors, antique dealers. Gives those on the train a reason to want to return!
I love Glencoe and would enjoy growth for our city; let’s leave no stone unturned to make that a reality. It just takes planning, hard work and people thinking outside the box.
David B. Hay