Lehigh Valley

Nazareth looks for more people to open up shop downtown

Nazareth looks for more people to open up shop downtown

NAZARETH, Pa. - A Northampton County borough known for famous race car drivers and guitars is making a push to attract more businesses. That's because Nazareth also wants to be known for having a thriving downtown.

There are open businesses up and down Main Street in Nazareth. The goal now is to get more people inside them.

"They want people to know, 'Hey, we're still here," said Stephanie Varone, downtown business coordinator for the Nazareth Economic Development Commission. "We're still working. We still care, and we got special values for you. Please shop local."

Varone said the goal is not only to get more patrons, she wants to fill empty storefronts.

"There's a community loan pool," added Varone. "We're trying to recruit new businesses into Nazareth. We think it's the next hotspot. It's a beautiful, beautiful community. It's historic."

The best way for the group to get the word out is by starting the website Nazareth Now. The site lists events, a business directory, and will soon show locations available to open a business downtown.

"More and more people use the website anymore," said Jeffrey Gehris, of Nazareth. "We're on the web for our church and so are the other churches and the website becomes so important."

The website has been up and running for only two months, but people say they've already seen more visitors here in the borough.

"Every one‘s been very, very receptive, and they want to know what's going on in the community," said Varone. "It's been really good."

So the place known for Martin Guitar and Schubert's bakery from the Food Network wants to be known for so much more.

"Everyone is just involved," said Varone. "Everyone wants to help and connect the dots and get us all growing."

Growth that means new business and even more people visiting this historic place.


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