CHESTERFIELD – As businesses continue to pop up in the small town of Chesterfield, with four opening in just the past couple of months, vacant buildings are becoming a rare commodity.
But that’s a resource Town Council President Jack Taylor is willing to go without, particularly because it’s helping to revitalize the town that’s on the periphery of larger Madison County cities like Anderson and Alexandria.
“It’s really good to see these buildings being occupied. There are only a few more left,” Taylor said.
For Taylor, it’s the small-town community feel that’s helping to attract businesses like the Habitat for Humanity ReSale Store or Craft Corner, both of which opened in July.
Though the town hasn’t offered tax breaks or other financial assistance to the new businesses, Taylor said he’s been sure to offer as much public relations or attend ribbon cuttings as possible.
“It’s really the community. We have a great community here and people want to support businesses here, help their own,” he said.
Along with a welcoming community, Jim Wehrly, manager at the ReSale Store, said Chesterfield offered a chance at a larger building on a main street for about one-tenth the cost of a comparable space in Anderson.
“We would have preferred to stay in Anderson, but we just couldn’t make it work,” Wehrly said. “I think we looked at every building in Anderson.”
Low overhead is most important to Wehrly, because the store operates as a nonprofit, donating all the money it takes in from selling donated furniture, appliances and building materials to the Habitat for Humanity building fund to build homes for families in need.
Wehrly moved into the new location at 440 E. Main St. in late July, with a ribbon cutting Aug. 3.
Since then, he’s seen a massive increase in shoppers.
Sherri Plummer, owner of Parrot Tracks, opened on the same day as Wehrly in the same strip mall, and said she’s certainly seen a much larger increase in business versus her first spot in Pendleton.
Plummer began last year with a shop in Pendleton, focused on selling exotic birds and pet supplies, but said she moved to Chesterfield because it offered a low-cost spot near a major road, in an area that’s beginning to see development.
That’s the hope for Taylor, that as Anderson and surrounding areas continue to grow, Chesterfield too can retain its small-town charm while piggybacking off the growth around the county.
“We would love to see more business come in, or even industrial to help people with jobs,” he said, adding a bank, grocery store or hardware store would also make for great fits in the community.
Lisa Adams, owner of the Craft Corner that opened June 26, said as a longtime Chesterfield resident, she’s happy to see the town so welcoming to new business.
“It’s been great, the town of Chesterfield has been great. They love seeing new things open,” she said.