- July 13, 2021
- Posted by: Stratford Team
- Category: Business
From rural downtowns to urban commercial corridors, local business districts are centers of civic life and commercial activity. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these districts already faced serious challenges, including decades of disinvestment, limited access to capital and broadband, brain drain, and competition from big box and online retail, to name just a few.
Today, these problems have only intensified, with shutdowns and capacity limitations decimating revenue streams for small businesses, particularly as many consumers switch to online shopping (nearly two-thirds of small businesses have no online presence). Many districts that once depended on office workers for foot traffic also face a challenging future, with McKinsey & Company estimating that more than 20% of workers will not return to traditional offices. Forty-four percent of small businesses closed during the pandemic, and full recovery still seems a distant goal…