Support for local business

Old Town Helena, with its bridge crossing Buck Creek and quaint row of shops that recall hometown America ,is in trouble. We think it is time that residents, business and government leaders double their efforts not to lose this Shelby County icon.

Recently, as many as five shops in the area have put up for rent signs with businesses finding it difficult to keep going.

As long as six years ago, ideas were being floated to revamp the area including those from the Auburn University Center for Architecture and Urban Studies and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.

City officials and residents were encouraged to attract different kinds of businesses to the historic area such as

inns, specialty restaurants and a bakeries.

Research from the Auburn Center said there was not enough &8220;linkage&8221; to connect neighborhoods and important parts of the city, like Old Town Helena and the Winn Dixie Shopping Center.

Also stressed was the need for supporting current businesses

&045;&045; a suggestion that met with applause by some Helena business leaders.

Things haven&8217;t changed too much since then. Residents of Shelby County need to consider that when they drive to shop at the new, big-box shopping centers, local businesses, which have been the mainstay of hometown America, suffer.

We encourage residents to seek the local merchants and to shop at home when they can.

There are plenty of unique gifts that can be found in hometown stores in all Shelby County cities. This will help keep dollars in areas like Old Town Helena, keep downtown areas vibrant and keep our sense of community pride strong.