Business owners “united for change” in downtown Monroe

Downtown Monroe businesses unite

MONROE, NC (WBTV) - Beth Tourtellot has had her shop Peddler’s Paradise in downtown Monroe for six months.

“This could definitely be a destination spot,” she says of the downtown area. “It’s not right now, but it could be.”

Business is good, but could be better, she says.

“It is hard when people come and they see my neighbors and their building,” she says.

She’s sick of abandoned, and worn-down shops in the area. After creating a Facebook group called “United for Change in Downtown Monroe,” she discovered more than 150 people who agree.

“It shows I’m not the only one who feels this way,” she says. “A lot of people feel this way.”

Tuesday night, page members including Tourtellot brought their concerns out from behind the screen, and in front of council.

“The more people that come, the more we’ll learn, and the more we can help,” she says.

At the meeting, several found an opportunity to speak in support of upcoming new business East Frank Superette and Kitchen, applying for a grant.

“I’d like for Monroe to be a destination, and not a thoroughfare,” one man said from the podium

“I’m begging the city council to approve this,” another said. “We’ve been looking for more businesses to come into downtown.”

Tourtellot says the night was just a small step towards the goal of revitalizing many city blocks.

“You could’ve gone anywhere, and you chose downtown Monroe,” she says of fellow business owners. “To me that’s personal. It just gets me emotional because I know how hard these people work.”

This newly-formed group of business owners and landlords will now meet to devise a specific, long-term plan, that they’ll present to city officials.

Those city officials declined interviews with WBTV Tuesday.

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