If you had a chance to drive through downtown Belding this past week, you may have noticed a bit of buzz coming from the new Silk City Saloon restaurant.
Since the closing of the Driftway Inn in 2012, any sort of downtown nightlife has since dissipated as residents have been forced to venture away from the city’s central intersection of Main and Bridge streets to seek evening entertainment.
That’s a stigma that has been difficult to reverse.
It takes a lot of effort, and money for that matter, to open a business in a location where several others have tried and failed over the years.
The risk is undoubtedly high.
But Silk City Saloon owner Mark Hoople was willing to take the leap, and time will tell if his investment of a new restaurant in the city — including lunch, dinner and a full bar — will pay off.
“I want to let people know that downtown Belding is not dead by any means,” Hoople said.
If Hoople is to be considered correct in his statement, it’s going to take an effort that stretches far beyond good customer service and quality food.
The people of Belding are going to have to show their support as well.
Upon opening, the comments about the new business flooded in to The Daily News Facebook page.
“It’s nice to see a new business open in Belding!” said a resident of Sidney.
“Belding really needs this!” stated a Grand Rapids resident.
And one of Belding’s own chimed in, “Very excited about this! Within walking distance for us.”
The excitement was evident, but there was also one comment that stung sharp, sharing a mentality that is anything but an anomaly, unfortunately.
“It won’t last long, I’m sure,” the Facebook comment stated.
A new business has just opened its doors with a goal to bring life back to a city that some say is void of life entirely, and just like that, the effort is cast aside as yet just another business destined to fail.
For the hundreds of residents who vocally plead for a vibrant, business-friendly downtown to return, there are those who continue to stay defiant with an attitude that nothing is ever going to change.
And that’s where change has to begin, with the idea that there can be change in the first place.
Yes, there are several business that have opened and failed in the past year in Belding. But if that’s the predetermined expectation broadcasted via word-of-mouth by those who live in the city, how will local businesses ever succeed?
A new business is a new option, one that has the potential to bring outsiders into Belding. That’s an idea that should be supported on every level.
Instead of sharing a state of mind that a new business in Belding is just a quick endeavor doomed to fail, perhaps it would be best to show support, so that the next Mark Hoople who visits the area will spot a parking lot full of cars in front of a business full of patrons.
Perhaps then, as that potential investor leaves town and the sight of an empty building comes into view, they will be inspired with a dream as Hoople was, about what that empty building can eventually become.
Maybe then, another dream can become reality … the idea of another new business in the town of Belding.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.