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MILLERSBURG -- One thing the merchants of Historic Downtown Millersburg (HDM) all agree on, is any event that brings people to town is good for business and therefore good for the fortunes of the village.
Several merchants shared their thoughts about a recent survey conducted by the Business Enhancement Committee of HDM.
Bill and Shirley Robinson, owners of the Hotel Millersburg were pleased with the whole experience.
"It was really interesting. They put a lot of work into this," Bill Robinson said. "The issues they addressed, we're impressed with that."
"I know that things constantly change from the time you start on a project like this to the time you finish, which make it difficult," Shirley Robinson added.
The Robinsons agreed that they think the HDM does a wonderful job.
"They have some really good events, and events are our lifeblood," Bill Robinson added. "The normal, every-day business is good, but it's the events that really bring people in."
All the events that go on in town bring people to the restaurant and hotel.
"Antiques in the Alley isn't a really big event, but it happens twice a year and it really brings people in," Bill Robinson said. "It doesn't seem to matter how many vendors they have on the street, people always come to the restaurant. And the hotel does very well depending on what the event is. We feel the more events the better.
"The village has gradually been increasing the number of events, and we think it's only going to get better with the new fairgrounds," he continued.
He said Harvest Ridge has only held a few events so far, and each time it has impacted the hotel.
"We've sold a lot of rooms because of their events," Robinson said. "There was a European horse show right after the fair, and we've worked with the Ohio Cattleman's Association, who had a show there a couple weeks ago.
"I'm sure HDM will tie into some of those events because they are just going to bring lots of people to town," he added. "Millersburg is really taking off."
"Events like Antiques in the Alley and the Antique Festival are right up our alley, because that's our business," said Randy Ramsey, owner of Jackson Street Antiques. "These, and other events, if they bring more people to town, it benefits everybody."
He likes the fact that downtown is flourishing.
"Pretty much every storefront is full," Ramsey said. "That's a lot different from when I first started here."
"When we got here in 2002, about half of the stores in town were vacant," Robinson said. "And we were really taking a chance with the hotel. We respect Tom Bird's efforts to keep the hotel open back then, but it was kind of marginal. We put a lot of work into this place and now, 15 years later, downtown is really thriving. There's only one or two vacant places, and there's six restaurants."
"I know it's good for us. The events that we have, wouldn't happen without HDM," said Sue Szpila, owner of The Jewelry Store. "Many of the business owners don't have the time or want to spend the money that it takes to put these events together."
She added that when business owners work together, good things are accomplished.
Robinson believes the survey will be a good measuring stick in the future.
"This will be a very good resource to look into in the future," he said. "It's not just what they found last year, but there are some good ideas for the future. This will be a very useful guideline. It takes money and a whole lot of effort, but it is done now. And I don't think things will change too much. It's outlined right here."
Village Administrator Nate Troyer agreed.
"I think it was a good tool to get a feel of what the merchants are dealing with," HDM Board Member Troyer said. "We wanted to see how we can incorporate what we do here to possibly help them."
Troyer noted that while parking was cited as a major problem in the village, there has been a major improvement in the parking problem.
"I question that a little bit," he said. "There has been a lot of improvement with the parking in town. And we're looking at adding even more parking at the west end of town."
"As a board member, it's great to see that the HDM is doing well," Troyer said. "Through this survey, we can can see what people think is good and not good and we can deal with those things accordingly.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or email@example.com.