Bowling Green, Missouri
Feature written in September 2020
FHLB Des Moines Member: Community State Bank of Missouri, Bowling Green
The downtown commerce area is often the heart of a community’s identity and a strong source of civic pride. When two buildings in the Bowling Green’s downtown had to be razed because they had fallen into disrepair, residents knew they had to take action and the Downtown Revitalization Committee was born. This group of concerned citizens had the goal of making their downtown a thriving shopping destination like it had been many years ago.
Building on the draw of five small retail stores already doing a strong business, the committee is hoping to construct 8 to 12 small, free-standing retail rental spaces called "Chalets." These micro-spaces measure between 100-300 square feet and are being placed on vacant lots on the town square.
The Chalets will be rented to retail entrepreneurs who need help getting started. With little risk and minimal up-front costs, they can test out their business before investing in a larger space. Beautification efforts, including large concrete planters with banners, flowers and decorative lights, bring a warm and inviting feeling to the space.
The community support for the project has been amazing. Citizens and business owners are excited to see the effort to improve Bowling Green’s downtown. The project has generated strong interest from people interested in starting a business because they can see the effort that the community is putting into bringing foot traffic and customers to town. They keep up to date on progress through a Facebook page dedicated to the Downtown Marketplace and on the Chamber’s web page.
The goal of the Downtown Marketplace is to serve as an amazing "start-up" opportunity that will benefit not only the new entrepreneurs but the downtown shopping areas and overall Bowling Green development. The current waiting list for the first Chalet signals the idea will catch on.