rsz downtown storefronts 012Created in 1986 by the City of Dowagiac to address what was then a struggling downtown, the DDA and City of Dowagiac have since transformed our central business district into a showplace of the region. Streetscape improvement projects, coupled with the private investment of property owners, today provides the perfect setting for our growing niche of unique shops, and fine and casual dining.

Due to the close working relationship the DDA enjoys with downtown property owners, it is able to provide services similar to those of a realtor, but free of charge. When a building is available for lease or sale, property owners turn to the DDA to help them market, show and ultimately lease their storefronts.

The DDA program director also assists individuals as they prepare to open their business, easing communications with fellow city offcials, such as the Building Inspector, who issues permits for occupancy, signage and construction.

Property owners and even tenants can take advantage of the Facade Incentive & Architectural Design Services Program. Matching funds are provided up to $2,000 per storefront for either the historic or tasteful renovation of the front facade. To date, 95 percent of the storefronts on Front Street have been renovated using this program.

Latest News from your Chamber

  • June 30th, 2019

    Rev Up Your Engines for Summer in the City

    Summer in the City is pleased to welcome Modified Lawn Tractor Association racing to this year's festival, which opens Friday, July 19.
     
    In the spirit of the festival's bed-racing days from the late-1980s, the owners of 10 to 12 lawn tractors will transform the parking lot of the James E. Snow Professional Building into a race track for Saturday's competition. Vickie Phillipson, Chamber of Commerce program director, said Ron Galbreath of Dowagiac Union Schools, who is a member of the South Bend organization, is heading up Saturday's new event that runs from 1 to 4 p.m.
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  • June 30th, 2019

    Chamber Spotlight Shines on Dr. Matthew Cripe

    Dentist Matthew Cripe is among the proud Dowagiac graduates who returned to their hometown, following college graduation, to open their practice here.  This summer his career marks 29 years, as he now serves the two communities of Dowagiac and Niles.
     
    “Right out of school, I bought Dr. Neff’s practice,” Dr. Cripe said. There, they worked side by side for three years. Then, after 59 years in business, Dr. Neff retired in August 1993. 
     
    As Dr. Cripe looks back on those early years, he fondly recalls it was Dr. Neff and his father, who recommended he join the Chamber, which he did his very first day. In 1995 and 1996, Dr. Cripe went on to serve as president of the organization.
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  • June 30th, 2019

    Driving Business Your Way with the Auto Show

    As the 29th annual Dowagiac Rod & Roll Classic Auto Show approaches, volunteers will stuff 210 swag bags with goodies for registered car owners of the Aug. 17 event.
     
    "This is a perfect opportunity for Chamber-member businesses to reach new customers," said Kris Soenen, Chamber treasurer and chairman of Rod & Roll. "We will get people to town. Now, you get them into your business." 
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