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America’s Main Street Revival Goes Into Reverse, Cutting a Small-Town Lifeline

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America's Main Street Revival Goes Into Reverse, Cutting a Small-Town Lifeline

Photo caption: Kim Redeker talked with a customer from behind the counter at her sweets shop, The Sweet Granada. Katie Currid for The Wall Street Journal. Article b

Editor’s note: This article has been reprinted with permission as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Kim Redeker opened The Sweet Granada chocolate shop in Emporia, Kan., in 2004, in a storefront that had been vacant for years. She was an early foot soldier in a push to revitalize Emporia’s downtown.

Other specialty shops, restaurants and bars popped up — the Bourbon Cowboy bar, a bike shop called Gravel City Adventure & Supply Co., Dynamic Discs for disc golf. By early 2020, the vacancy rate on Emporia’s Main Street corridor had dropped below 10%, compared with about 40% in 1991. […]

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