Dahlia Developer: ‘If We Need to Make Changes to Make It Work, We Will’

Vibrant. Charming. Multicultural. Thriving. Variety. Family-oriented.

These are some of the words that sum up what an estimated 75 local residents and civic leaders said when asked what they wanted downtown Canby to look like in the future. The exercise was part of a Community Visioning Forum hosted by Hanlon Development last week at its new Dahlia building on the corner of Second and Ivy.

Attendees were also asked questions like, “What is your favorite small business in Canby?” and “What businesses does downtown Canby need?” Mary Hanlon, founder and principal of Hanlon Development, said the answers to that last question ended up looking a lot like their own wish list for the Canby Civic Block.

“The list of business ideas that community members came up with was very similar to ideas of businesses we would like to recruit,” Hanlon said. “This was great validation. Business ideas included, gift shops, toy store, pet store, garden shop, wine tasting room, Italian restaurant, art gallery, child and teen centered businesses, daycare and a few other ideas.”

Hanlon also received feedback on potential barriers to leasing space at the Dahlia, including the cost and the risks inherent to starting any new business.

“We want to hear these things because we want to make the project successful, and if we need to make changes to make it work, we will,” Hanlon said. “If the Civic Block is successful, all businesses downtown benefit. Retail succeeds when there are many reasons for people to be in a neighborhood and walk from one location to another.”

Hanlon and her partners will be continuing their efforts to spark local entrepreneurship and economic development with a Small Business Boot Camp this weekend.

“We believe that the downtown revitalization is going to come from home grown local businesses,” Hanlon said, “and we want to support those efforts.”

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