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Auburn businesses struggling amid shifts in economy

"Auburn Economy Shift"
“Auburn Economy Shift”

Business closures in Old Auburn, especially notable in Old Town Auburn, CA are increasing due to declining foot traffic and economic struggles. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation, with even previously resilient businesses struggling.

City manager Sean Rabé links these closures to inflation and a decrease in local business support and underlines consumer behavior shifting towards larger retail outlets. Rising costs and dwindling local support are significantly impacting smaller businesses, leading to an increase in ‘For Lease’ signs lining the streets.

Local artist and gallery owner Frank Ordaz supports Rabé’s claims, confirming that he, too, has felt the pinch but has managed to stay afloat by expanding his digital presence. In turning to social media promotions and virtual exhibitions, Ordaz highlights the importance of online platforms in today’s market.

Authorities have brought in a consultant experienced in revitalizing declining areas to protect remaining businesses. The consultant’s approach involves partnering with business owners to create a task force to promote local commerce and events attracting residents and tourists.

Auburn’s economic fallout: a closer look

The aim is to create a vibrant, sustainable community that supports economic growth and prosperity.

In addition, a traffic study is being considered to encourage more people to travel to downtown Auburn using Interstate 80. Other strategies include modifying traffic lights and signs and offering incentives to spur residents to use the Interstate. These changes aim to make transportation smoother and promote sustainability.

Rabé admits the issues arose early this year, and the city attempted to tackle them immediately. The newly hired consultant is already engaging with business owners in Old Town and Downtown Auburn to brainstorm revitalization strategies. Regular updates between all parties will ensure coordination of efforts to breathe new life into these historic areas.

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