New downtown manager upbeat in report to RDA

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The city’s new downtown manager has hit the ground running.

Meeting with the Redevelopment Authority for the first time Sept. 4, Randy Schwoerer told the group, “I’ve been out talking with everybody from people on the street to tons of business people.”

After three weeks on the job, Schwoerer said, his summary was that there is no easy summary of Plymouth’s downtown.

“There’s a lot of opportunities, but I think things need to move fast,” Schwoerer told the RDA members. “We need a lot of polish downtown and it will take a little initiative to bring some color back to downtown.”

He did say that the number of unique shops along Mill Street fit in well with one of today’s retail trends – destination shopping.

“We have a lot of unique stores downtown,” Schwoerer observed. “One strength of the downtown is that many businesses are owneroperated, os they have a passion to make things different.”

On the other hand, he added, that can be a limiting factor as well.

“What we have are a lot of people who have some nice ideas, nice ideas but small, because they’re trying to sell one dress or one item at a time,” Schwoerer explained.

One of his goals will be to get downtown business people together to get them to plan for the future.

To that end, Schwoerer said he will be working on a plan for next year for downtown, with a focus on events to bring in potential shoppers, in the next 45 days.

“The challenge is number one to get them into the downtown and number two to get them to stop in at the different stores,” Schwoerer said.

“We have a lot of positive things but we need to get the word out,” he continued. The primary focus should be in the area, to bring in customers from surrounding communities to visit and shop in downtown Plymouth.

“Our target market should be close in,” Schwoerer stated.

He also said more work is needed to create a database of downtown customers, to learn who is coming here and why, and where they are coming from.

Schwoerer said he has some ideas to help business owners create such a database and that will be one of the areas he will focus on in his work.

“We need to have that relationship (with customers) where we’re talking to them. Every three months they need to get something from us and they’re not now. It’s going to be a learning process.”

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