Looking out my Ottawa Main Street Association window recently, I never realized until I was right on Main Street, day after day, that there is a lot of activity going on downtown.

You see people walking for exercise, or to get to their job or running into Kramer’s Pharmacy because they need medicine or just to meet for coffee.

You see real activity at the bike shop these days; everyone’s getting prepared for spring. Jeff and his brother, Jonathan, are doing a great job trying to get everybody excited about the two state park trails that meet in Downtown at First and Walnut.

There’s a lot of activity always at the antique store down the block, Our House Runneth Over; they seem to always have so much to look at in all their booths. Of course, Country Living is open, Tuesday-Saturday and they have customers from all over the county; all over the five-county area, driving in just to see new merchandise. It’s a pretty exciting little store and always smells so good! And that’s just on the 100 block. Not to mention, the restaurants just stay busy.

With all the construction that was going on downtown, I know that it has stiffled a lot of the shopping this past year. Due to the summer heat, the construction starting in August-January, it brought gravel and water and lots of cones everywhere. Christmas shopping seemed impossible at times. However, people came and spent money and that is our goal to bring people downtown to ring those registers and help our economy.

That is always our goal as the Ottawa Main Street Association — to ring registers and we will continue working for the small businesses, our members in downtown, and north and south Ottawa, to bring more people to spend money all year long and not just on special events.

As the director, I know the more we can encourage locals of Ottawa and in Franklin County to come and visit, to shop their own stores, see how unique our shops are and share those experiences, the better our economy will be and the happier the business owners will be as well.

We serve visitors monthly from everywhere that have heard about Ottawa and our unique draw of stores, activities, and yes, our people. Watch for new promotions this year!

Do you still think that there’s not much here just because you live here? Well, if you take a stroll down Main Street, it’s only five blocks but there’s so much packed into those five blocks! It would take you a little while to go into each shop, look around, spend some time and possibly purchase something.

Did you realize that $100 spent in our community per person. (Population 12,000) would stimulate our economy by $120,000? That would be a big boost to downtown and you would be helping keep downtown Ottawa viable.

So as spring approaches and we’re all tired of the cold weather, am I right? Take a trip downtown, walk into a unique store that you haven’t been in before or didn’t even realize was there and talk to the business owner. They are proud of their products and services. Take a look around and find something that you would have never seen this before, and say, I’ve got to have it this! Encourage others to visit our community.

We have a great downtown, let’s share it!

— Lenni Giacin is the Main Street Association Director