As I walked by the empty store front that used to be the Mustard Seed on Fort Thomas Avenue I couldn't help but wonder what the future holds for the Central Business District. Again we lose another business because it is difficult to get good signage and a lack of support...not from the community but from the property owners who are unwilling to support the vision of moving our retail business districts forward. Locating the business in neighboring Southgate worked better for Amanda after a short time in Fort Thomas.
CORRECTION - Amanda does not have a store front in Southgate and is still running her catering business out of a friend's catering kitchen in Hebron until she decides her next step.
What if there had been vision by the city and some support for a busy street corner? We could have had an amazing wine shop next door to a great sidewalk cafe. Again, don't blame the citizens of Fort Thomas for not supporting their businesses. We must have property owners who are willing to give a small business owner some help - even if it means the city steps in with some help. This could be a non-profit type organization like 3CDC in Cincinnati that helps bridge the gap between startup and business success.
Without supportive zoning and a city council that continues to only have vision to update sidewalks and awnings where will businesses like the independent drug store, Ft Thomas Drug Center, turn when increased competition arrives from the Kroger and Target pharmacies that will be opening in the Newport Pavilion?
I got a bit of an answer as it relates to how Ft Thomas Drug Center hopes to compete when I opened my mail today. I received a card from the Good Neighbor Pharmacy that was branded with the Ft Thomas Drug Center name. It turns out that the large pharmaceutical company AmerisourceBergen has created a co-op of sorts for independent pharmacists to help fight the large chain stores. While it makes for some great press when the large pharma company helps out the independent business owner I am sure there is a bit of self-serving in it somewhere. The postcard provides some free offers and is the first piece of marketing I ever remember seeing by the drug store.