From Carroll County Times —–
After working in the jewelry business for 20 years, Toni Pomeroy dreamed of opening her own shop on Main Street, but it wasn’t until Pomeroy Jewelers opened at 41 E. Main St. in Westminster that she realized the difficulties associated with owning a downtown business.
After the grand opening in May 2007, Pomeroy said she routinely witnessed loiters congregating outside her store, many obnoxious and appearing to be drunk.
“It was unbearable,” she said. “When you open up your business downtown it’s your dream, and you don’t factor in having to deal with that.”
While loitering isn’t considered a serious crime, it can create the perception that the area isn’t safe and cause potential consumers to stay away.
“Because we’re a jewelry store, nobody wanted to walk into a store where they felt unsafe in the community,” Pomeroy said.
Westminster isn’t the only Main Street to suffer from that perception. Elkton is located in Cecil County and also deals with the perception of an unsafe Main Street.
Margie Blystone, who opened Main Street Art there one year ago, said an unwelcoming perception has hindered the success of her business.
“I do believe there are people that are reluctant to come downtown because they may see homeless people sitting on a park bench,” Blystone said.