Have you ever passed an empty storefront and found yourself imagining what was once inside? Or rather, what you wish was inside? Marietta is lucky to have a vibrant and thriving downtown; but we also have our fair share of storefronts not currently in use. I find myself peeping into such windows, daydreaming of what that space used to be, or what it could be to someone new.

Many of the buildings downtown have a history that is hinted at in the richness of their architectural details or in the faded murals painted on their brick walls. Walls that have seen dozens of floods, windows that have stood the tests of time, intricate tile work laid a century ago by a skilled craftsman – these buildings have earned their stripes, and bear the signs of weathering proudly. But they long to live again – to have activity bustling in and out of their doors daily. Empty, they stand as testaments to an era gone by, but give them a new purpose and they will continue to enhance the fabric of our downtown.

As I walk by, I can’t help but imagine a host of new businesses that I would love to see in these empty storefronts:  new types of restaurants, specialty boutiques, places for students to kick back and study, services currently only found on the far side of town. What types of businesses are you longing to see downtown? Friday evening you will have a chance to answer that question! As you stroll around enjoying the Merchants & Artists walk, you will see unique signs on some of these empty storefronts. Marietta Main Street has placed these signs, inviting you to express what you wish was inside that storefront. Write down your thoughts, spark some conversation, and perhaps inspire someone to make your dream come to life. That community interest may be just the nudge someone needs to start a new business downtown.

Instead of seeing these storefronts as empty, let’s think of them as being full of opportunity – simply awaiting their next venture!