Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel agrees there appears to be a bit of a business “spurt” and thinks the economy has a lot to do with that, pointing out the economy is better now than it was this time last year. “Business stems from the success of other people. Other people look at that success and think, ‘If they can do that, I can, too,’” he said, pointing out the Super City Antiques and Sixth and Vintage are good examples.
McDaniel said Market Street has lost some businesses, including Farley’s Cafeteria, but says gradually business is getting better. “It’s a domino effect,” he said, also noting that in recent years as gaming revenue has declined. “Everything helps.”
One recent change in ownership includes the former I-24 Antique Mall, owned by Charlie Eichorn. Eichorn purchased the property in October 2005, initially opening The Buggy Barbecue & Grill and General Store and later transforming the property into the I-24 Antique Mall. The building was formerly a Ponderosa.
Among recent business activity, Julie Kotter, originally of Metropolis, purchased the I-24 Antique Mall property to expand her company Lily Boutique. At the first of August, Kotter, who currently lives in Lowertown Paducah, was in the process of doing some small renovations and moving items from her Paducah warehouse. Kotter’s business can be found online at www.lilyboutique.com.
On July 3, Bobby Rich, of Paducah, filed an assumed name publication notice for Amber’s Cleaning & Distribution, located at 120 Park Rd. in Paducah. Owners are Bobby and Tonya Rich. The business provides janitorial services and supplies. It opened in 2003.
Also in July, Derrick Bradford, of Metropolis, filed an assumed name publication for his business Derstephison, which is located at 1616 Metropolis St. Bradford explained his Metropolis-based business features decorative, conversational driftwood for the home or office.
On July 25, Audrey Verwers, of Metropolis opened Beautiful Alyse, located at 1013 E. Fifth St., at the original Metropolis Sonic location. Verwers is leasing the building, which features new women’s clothing and accessories. The sizes range from small to plus size. Verwers said at some point later on, she hopes to offer purses, boots and jewelry in the store.
There are two dressing rooms and also a children’s playroom. Verwers, who is a dental hygienist, has always thought about opening up her own boutique so she jumped in and opened her first ever business. She says the name of the store comes from her own middle name.
According to Verwers, the store is on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and emphasizes there are some giveaways.
In August, Aime Parham, of Metropolis announced her business, Honeysuckle Row, which is located at 119 West Sixth Street in Metropolis. Parham said the business restores furniture.
And, Connie Carnes, of Golconda, has also opened Connie’s Closet, which is located at 700 Market St., which is the former United Cities Gas building. Connies Closet is a resale store featuring new and used items from clothing and furniture to toys and home décor.
Carnes, who grew up in Metropolis, has lived in Pope County for the past six years and initially began her business on 19th Street, but for the past two months has been at her current location. Carnes said when she moved to Market Street, her expenses were doubled. “I was worried at first,” she said.
But, Carnes said business has since picked up, and she is no longer worried about the move to Market Street. In fact, she said having grown up in Metropolis, she can remember all of the stores that used to be open on Market Street and has watched he businesses close over time. “Now, I’m one of those businesses on Market Street and it makes me feel good,” she said.
“Being in business in Metropolis is probably similar to being in business anywhere, it just takes a lot of dedication and patience - “perseverance,” said Mike Pool, owner of Big John Grocery Store.
Pool says being in a smaller town has its advantages, “You know a lot of your customers by name and I think people stick together. In a bigger town, you would open yourself up to more customers, but then you probably have more competition,” said Pool.
According to Pool, Illinois is not the easiest state to do business in and the number one reason is workers compensation insurance. “I think a lot of people perceive that owning your own business is “easy” and you can make your own schedule. It’s like most things it’s a lot harder than it looks especially to do it right,” said Pool.
Sixth & Vintage Owner Julie Bailey, who had been an owner with the former Sisters Shoppe, launched her business on Sixth Street in 2012, and in November 2013 moved the business to Market Street. “Moving tripled my size, and it has increased my sales,” she said, adding, “I’m doing better than I was before.”
According to Bailey, when she was co-owner in Sisters Shoppe, prior to opening that business, she had researched owning a business and then learned through trial and error. “It takes dedication and patience,” she said, pointing out there are those days when she does get discouraged.
Bailey describes Metropolis as a “quaint,” town and says, “It could be so much more.” She says she wishes there were more incentives to encourage people to open more businesses and wishes there were more businesses and maybe a restaurant on or near Market Street, pointing out right now there is not a whole lot to offer the tourists who visit.
“Hard work really does pay off,” said Bailey, also adding, “If you want something bad enough, you’ll do what it takes to make it work.”
The first step for any individual or individuals wanting to start a new business is to visit the Massac County Clerk’s Office to file an Assumed Name Publication Notice. Those notices then are printed in the Metropolis Planet for three weeks.
According to Taylor, his office receives certificates of publication from the Planet and keeps that information on file in the office. Taylor said his office also sends a certificate of ownership to the business owner(s) and that is up to each individual business owner to contact the state of Illinois to acquire a tax identification number.
According to Massac County Clerk’s Office, here are the total numbers of assumed name publications that have been filed since 2011:
In 2011: 16 assumed names
In 2012: 21 assumed names
In 2013: 15 assumed names
In 2014: 21, so far, as of third week in August