Saturday, July 9, 2011

I love my city of Bridgeport!

My city (Bridgeport, CT) gets a bad rap. We were even poked fun at in a episode of Family Guy. I'm wasn't born or raised in CT so I don't know first-hand what it was like 10-20 years ago. I hear it used to be a lot of crime and corruption. What former large city hasn't gone through a period of rebuilding? Bridgeport was once a major port and manufacturing city. I hear from customers how nice the city was when they were growing up 30-40 years ago. They reminisce when they come into the restored Arcade Mall because their parents used to shop for them here. People once flocked here for jobs and opportunity. When the jobs left, desperation and crime ran rampant just like Cleveland, OH (my birthplace) and cities like Detroit, MI.

We've got a long way to go with the public education system here. Don't think there's an easy fix for that. But I believe our worst is in the past. Every city has parts of town you shouldn't go to at night, alone, if you don't know anyone or have no business there. That's just common sense! I moved to CT in 2005. I moved into downtown because there was an experimental artist housing development placed here. I was familiar with Artspace from my time living in MN. They buy distressed properties all over the USA and rehab them and subsidize apartments for artists and their families. This gives them an affordable place to live as they work in their craft. Usually Artspace projects are located in urban areas that have been void of residents for a while. I lived there until I outgrew my apartment when I started my family. My husband and I purchased a home in Bridgeport's north end.

When I decided to go into business for myself, Bridgeport was an obvious choice for opportunity and growth and the retail home for Gumdrop Swap. I see the once abandoned buildings being refaced and replaced. I saw the potential about 2 years ago and everyone asked " Are you sure you want to open a business in BRIDGEPORT?" Uh, yeah. And I did. And now other people must be as crazy as I was because I see families and neighboring businesses are moving in. Sure, its not happening as fast as people (including myself) may want it to. But it took years to get the city in it's current state and it takes visionaries to invest, risk and make positive changes. I'm happy to be a part of the movement. I look forward to sharing some maybe-not-so-well-known things going on here. If you haven't been to downtown Bridgeport in years you've got to come see what you're missing! Delicious food, affordable shopping, relaxation, and great people. Park your car and explore! Unless, you consider the Family Guy cartoon a reliable travel guide. In that case, stay where you are, lol.

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