The boom in Buffalo is not going unnoticed in Williamsville. The village, under the guidance of Mayor Brian Kulpa, is looking for ways to expand Main Street’s popularity while maintaining and improving its focus on pedestrians. It’s the right strategy.
One of the most intriguing ideas – and if handled poorly, the most risky – is for the village to market itself to more national retailers. The idea, at least in part, is to put the village’s locally grown businesses in the faces of more shoppers by drawing people for whom the Main Street strip is not now an obvious choice. That could help to fill some of the vacancies that are also part of the Main Street tradition, adding vibrancy and bolstering the village, town and school district tax bases.
It’s a clever idea, as long as the ratio of national-to-local retailers continues to favor the small shops and restaurants that now populate the strip. That local flavor is what makes the village interesting; shoppers who want the big stores can drive a few miles in just about any direction and find those retailers in one of the area’s malls or shopping centers.