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Old Town Hopes Downtown Development Flourishes

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In the five years since Peggy Grey opened Mary Lue's Yarn and Ewe in old town Mankato, plenty has changed.

Grey says, "Old town was looking a little rough still at that time, but we knew there were some good things coming and we just decided to take that leap of faith and it has turned out really well for us"

But even with all of the aesthetic improvements, it isn't hard to find an empty storefront.

Grey says, "The economy is a huge part of that, and also as an independent you don't have an endless advertising budget to do all the marketing we would like to do."

So with a multi-million dollar development proposal going up down the road, will the Old Town businesses have to fight even harder to compete?

Eric Harriman with the City Center Partnership says not necessarily.

Harriman "Just because you have a development in one spot, doesn't necessarily mean it is bad for another."

In fact, Encore Consignment Boutique Owner Diane Volden says she expects the opposite of competition.

Volden says, "It's a compliment."

Volden says whether it's development in Old town or downtown, the more people coming to the City Center the better.

Volden says, "That is how it survives, that is how it revives."

And business will continue take pride in Old Town and constantly work to improve it.

Grey says, "I think the potential is still good for old town to really become a really nice shopping district for Mankato."

Volden says, "If you haven't been out here or you haven't been downtown, try it out, you'll find it is quite charming."