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Editorial: New business breathes new life |

Editorial: New business breathes new life

| Sunday, December 16, 2018 3:33 p.m

Blight is an ugly thing.

In farming, it refers to a disease that kills off a crop. In communities, it refers to something that happens often by choice than by fate.

Blight happens when businesses close and nothing takes their place. It is a hollowing out of areas that were once the bustling heart of a town.

It’s something that is very familiar in Pennsylvania, as hundreds of small towns that had those blocks of beating commerce have been gutted by closing shops.

Some are because the business itself failed in a changing economy. Others are because people don’t shop in downtowns the way they once did. They prefer the easy access of shopping in areas outside of town. Shops have become an exoskeleton that insulates and isolates rather than part of the community itself.

Blight spreads easily from business to residential properties if it is allowed. The decay of one place slowly shifts to what is nearby. Properties aren’t kept up. Ones that burn or are destroyed aren’t rebuilt.

That’s why it is so important to have new businesses offer up a heart transplant for those communities.

Jeannette is getting a boost as the old Gillespie Building on Clay Street will become a new microbrewery. Sobel’s Obscure Brewery has been producing beers commercially since June 2017. The new location will be a retail establishment with beer on tap and live entertainment.

The company is looking for brand recognition by opening the location.

What downtown Jeannette will gain is an infusion of blood to that heartbeat, an opportunity to keep and build circulation as customers from one business gain exposure to others.

Just like blight can spread, so can health. New businesses can be like antibodies that help stop a disease from spreading.

But they need help.

Those new businesses are transplanted organs and like any transplant, the biggest risk is rejection.

New business is only half the battle. Customers who support them are vital to making the whole system work.

It is easy to frequent the businesses on the edge. It takes effort to support the ones in the heart of the community, but it’s an effort we have to remember to take.

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