Thoughts About the Bancroft & Bourbon Closures

Letters to the Editor

Posted In: Culture, Community Profiles,   By: Steven M. Hensley

28th August, 2019     0

Dear Editor & Readers:

Recently, our community was stunned by the abrupt news surrounding the closing of the Bancroft Wine and Martini Bar and Bourbon + Co. To say that I was disappointed when I learned this news is an understatement. At that moment, my thoughts were focused on the owner of these establishments and the frustration and hurt he must be feeling. I was and I am still saddened for our community, and slighted by those who are convinced that good things can’t happen in our city. For the record, they’re unequivocally wrong. I and many others in our community believe otherwise, community leaders are collectively working hard to make our town a paradigm city for other cities to follow. Although we are saddened by the closing of these two fine establishments, we are no less determined.   

It’s an exciting time to live in a small or midsize city in America, and for the residents living in or near Saginaw, it’s once again becoming a preferred space to call home. We have community leaders who are resolute to find new ways for entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to fruition and for medium and large organizations to find our community a desirable a place to do business. When this happens, our community will be able to provide jobs for our young people, with or without a college education. We will be the beneficiary of their talents, rather than them leaving and taking their skills elsewhere.   

Small businesses are the largest employers in the United States of America - they are the impetus to bringing life back into a city. Small businesses are often taken for granted and under-supported. When we lose a small business such as the Bancroft Wine and Martini Bar, Bourbon + Co. and Bradley’s Bistro, we not only lose jobs, but we lose establishments that make us unique. Chain restaurants and corporate stores are great. Like many, I frequent them often, but they are in every city and town. They are not one of a kind and they are not likely to be the kinds of places where everyone knows your name.

When our community leaders’ dreams are realized, Riverfront Saginaw will be filled with trendy coffee shops, locally owned restaurants, microbreweries / craft cocktail bars and hipster boutiques, coupled with several non-retail contributors like tech startups, law offices, and even physician practices. We will have the kind of city that will produce and sustain a vibrant community. Our community has been blessed by the Shaheen family, they entertained this vision years ago when they invested their money into the Temple Theatre and the Washington Avenue corridor. Old Town Saginaw is already a success, (but still has room to grow), so much so that the Shaheen family recently constructed luxury condominiums on Hamilton Street within walking distance of several desirable Saginaw landmarks and entertainment hubs such as Pit & Balcony Theatre, the Saginaw Art Museum, Ojibway Island, the Anderson Enrichment Center, the Saginaw Children’s Zoo and Hoyt Park as well as several local eateries and bars.

A healthy and well patronized small business community is what creates a sense of - place and uniqueness - that will attract tourists, young people, including those starting families and even empty nesters, (all of which are among an increasing trend who wish to live in a downtown environment), a talented workforce, which in-turn, will spark interest in our community from larger businesses as well as outside investors. 

Please keep this in mind, typically, the most charitable businesses are small businesses. Remember that the next time you elect to shop on Amazon. Amazon didn’t sponsor your child’s little league team, and it was the local jeweler who allowed you to set-up a bake sale outside their front door. Amazon can’t do that because they don’t have a front door.  

Today more than ever, local businesses need your support and they need the support of local government and economic developers. When local businesses do well, they create jobs - generating more disposable income for residents while encouraging future entrepreneurs to choose to launch their business in Saginaw. Subsequently, more larger businesses will be drawn to our city increasing the overall success of our local channels of commerce and strengthening our economy. I will let your imagination foretell the rest of Saginaw’s potential. 

In closing, I urge you to sincerely consider spending your money at a locally owned business, whether it is a startup or it has a long-established history in our community. I can assure you, that you are much more likely to receive extraordinary service, and after a couple of visits don’t be surprised if they call you by name.

Steven M. Hensley • Financial Marketing Strategist • Great Lakes Bay Region Advocate



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