Monticello to launch two programs to boost business downtown

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MONTICELLO--If you walk through the streets of downtown Monticello, you're likely to spot a few vacant retail properties. Now, city leaders are launching two initiatives to bring business back to the city.

The first is "Premier Property Program," begins June 1st, with the hope of updating some of these dated locations.

Building owners will promise to display accurate contact information for available properties, provide all the details about the space, make sure it is ready to show, and agree to a safety  inspection.

In return, they'll get help from the city for marketing and advertising.

To get small businesses into these spots, the second project will be a "boot camp" for entrepreneurs this September.

The five-week course will teach business owners how to compose a business plan, and the best plan will get $5000 to set up shop in Monticello.

"There's a lot of areas open for just the general merchandise, whether it's clothing or shoes or sporting goods," said Monticello Community Development Director, Callie McFarland. "And we have the data to back that up from our retail trade analysis."

The boot camp is free for all small business owners, but the winning business plan will have to locate downtown, be open 40 hours a week, and have at least one and a half employees.

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