Small, rural downtowns can grow when a community’s under-served population becomes the focus. Targeting a specific sector of the population is how Downtown Dixon is successfully competing with the big box retailers in the community.
About ten years ago, investors, entrepreneurs, and developers had an awakening concerning Dixon’s uniqueness. When that happened, Dixon’s under-served upper-middle and upper class, and more educated population were targeted as a way to re-develop Dixon’s Historic Downtown.
Dixon, with its rural location as a backdrop, has a sizable population of highly educated high-income residents. The community is fortunate to have numerous companies and institutions that pay really well and offer very nice retirement packages. So, as a small rural community, Dixon reaps the benefits of having a sizable, high-paid upper class.
This socio-economic group for years was never thought about as a separate shopping block. That has changed as Dixon’s Downtown has grown with many higher-end shops and high-end restaurants. Here is a group of thousands of active workers making $60,000 and more a year, plus the thousands of retired workers with pensions paying as much. The Walmart, Shopko, and dollar stores have always been discounters for the masses. Once the small business sector chose Downtown to target the high wage-earning population, the growth has been unprecedented. Just since May, eight new businesses have opened and currently two locations are being renovated for restaurants. By mid-October, Dixon’s Downtown will have 14 restaurants reinforcing the area as an Historic Arts-Entertainment-and Dining District.
I’m Phillip LeFevre, and that’s my perspective