BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Arcadia Ales announced last week it will close its downtown Battle Creek location after more than two decades there.
The company hopes to open a new location somewhere in Battle Creek next year.
Empty store fronts are a common sight in downtown Battle Creek.
“I hate to see any business close up downtown because the more you have the more foot traffic you’re going to draw,” said Maryann Angelo, who owns Barista Blues Café in downtown Battle Creek. “You want diversity, we want all those buildings filled.”
Angelo has been serving up hot food and coffee for 11 years in downtown Battle Creek. Despite Arcadia’s departure and dark windows on Michigan Avenue, Angelo doesn’t think the downtown business market has grown cold.
“I see it going on the upswing, actually, as far as when I look at our business and what we’re doing,” she said. “I mean, we are definitely on the upswing.”
Battle Creek Downtown Development and Small Business Director John Hart said people should feel “optimistic” about downtown Battle Creek.
Arcadia’s 30,000-square-foot location can be broken into three or more different businesses, Hart said. The upstairs could be used for apartments or condos. He says for downtown to really thrive, people need to live there.
“But we know that we have to actually have critical mass,” Hart said. “We have to have people living downtown.”
Angelo also says downtown Battle Creek is close to turning the corner.
“I’ve said it a million times, people don’t window shop bars and cafes,” explained Angelo. “They want to come downtown and walk down your sidewalk and see boutiques, theaters, gift shops, book stores, things like that. And then all the businesses will thrive because they’ll complement one another.”