I was recently awarded the 2015 Downtown First Award for Outstanding Small Business and it’s strengthened my resolve to engage our community in the important work of creating a more vibrant Downtown York.
It was 38 years ago that Jim Cassel hired me at his downtown men’s clothing store in Lebanon when I was 15 years old. I came from a lower middle income, row-home family that lived on the bad side of town.
The clientele of Cassel’s store were doctors, lawyers and business owners. Working in that store allowed me to understand and appreciate a whole different way of life – and quite frankly demystify it. I learned that men of high stature had flaws like everyone else. I made some money and most importantly, learned life skills.
We need to provide the children of York City with the same opportunities. We need more people to live, create businesses and spend time in our city. We know what happens when problems are left for someone else to fix. No corporation or government grant is going to swoop in to turn the tide. We need you, here, now.
Don’t fall for the stereotypes about downtown York. In 25 years of working here, the worst thing that has happened to me or my clients was getting a parking ticket. Recently while working late one night, some of my neighbors surprised me with a delicious hot grilled dinner. A cool thanks perhaps for the respect I show by chatting with them, instead of walking by, while heading to my car and home.
The good I hoped to do when I opened my business in York City is being multiplied and handed right back to me every day. I look forward to seeing you downtown soon. A family of residents and merchants await you.