Businesses along Military Avenue have seen lots of changes over the years, the most recent being the announcement of the Sears location closing.
Leah Weycker is the current Executive Director of the district.
She told Local Five that, while she’s sad to see Sears go, she is hopeful about the future of the building. She said that new owners of the property have expressed excitement about being involved in community events.
While those owners have not yet confirmed official plans for the future of the Sears building, Weycker said that they have floated possibilities such as a grocery store or splitting up the building into smaller retailers.
The retail district used to benefit from Highway 41 running through, but when the highway was rerouted, traffic to the area fell off.
Three years ago, the Military Avenue Business District formed, in the hopes of bringing the district back to its heydays.
“We’re trying to get people to come back here because we have so many great stores, and to keep that retail alive, we’re just trying to drive people back here,” Weycker said.
Businesses located withing the district say they have already seen some changes with the new leadership.
Local five spoke to business owners who say they are excited about the future of the area.
Dan Hoehne, Owner of Chili John’s, an establishment that has stood on Military Avenue for 44 years says he would be happy to participate in any events promoting the district. He is also fond of the networking aspects of events like the Military Avenue Farmer’s Market.
“Anything that raises identity, the opportunity to interface with new customers is an important feature,” he said. “But at the same time, we still look at those situations as an opportunity to get to know the rest of the business community.”
Weycker also told Local Five that, with the success of the Titletown District, the Military Avenue Business District hopes to catch some of the momentum.
“The Packers are doing a great job over in the Titletown District, and we’re hoping to drive some of that traffic this way as well,” she said. “Our intersection with that is pretty residential-looking so we’re going to put a monument on the corner and have people come this way to find retail.”
For more information on the Military Avenue Business District, click here.