We often hear residents complain about the empty storefronts on Jos. Campau, and the supposed failure of city leaders to attract businesses.
Some folks believe that big-name companies are just waiting for a special invitation to open a business here.
That’s not how it works, people.
Businesses locate here when they find it in their best interest to do so.
It’s also up to the people who own these empty storefronts to market themselves.
The city can’t force building owners to find someone to lease to.
What we find even more confounding is that, while these very same people complain about the city not doing its job to attract businesses, when a certain type of business wants to open here, they complain.
Case in point: Recreational marijuana dispensaries.
There was a huge cry from people who opposed this type of business, with unfounded fears that dispensaries would lead to increased crime and kids getting their hands on marijuana.
Hamtramck now has three dispensaries, and a fourth possibly coming.
There have been no reports of problems at any of them, but like any business, sooner or later there may be an incident. Let’s face it, banks occasionally get robbed, shootings can happen at gas stations; you name it, crime happens.
There is one thing about dispensaries that critics fail to acknowledge: They are bringing in impressive tax and fee revenue for cities.
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, each dispensary contributes $28,000 in taxes and fees. Do local pharmacies bring in that kind of revenue? Do gas stations? How about markets?
No, no and no.
Marijuana, whether you approve of it or not, has been a good fit for cash-strapped Hamtramck.
The point of all this is, you can’t criticize city officials for Hamtramck’s empty storefronts, but then complain when a legal business you don’t happen to approve of wants to open here.
Let the market decide which businesses will survive here.
Posted March 19, 2021