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

  • March 31st, 2019

    Vineyard 2121 to Host Fundraiser for Pageant Scholarship

    The Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, April 13, will present “Reds, Whites & Flights,” at Vineyard 2121. The early evening event, from 4 to 7 p.m., is a fundraiser for the Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Fund, featuring spirits, entertainment and silent auction. Vineyard 2121 on Red Arrow Highway in Benton Harbor is one of several venues where musician and pageant master of ceremonies, Joe Jason, performs on a regular basis.

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  • March 31st, 2019

    Chamber Spotlight Shines on Olympia Books

    Olympia Used and Rare Books is a family business that opened in 1987 by Paul and Karen Pugh as Olympia Books and Prints in downtown Dowagiac at 208 S. Front St.

     The store then dealt in used and rare books, as well as posters and prints, and would eventually branch off to the framing business.

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  • March 31st, 2019

    Steeped in Tradition, Caruso’s at Nearly 100, Feted at BAH

    Antonio and Emilia Caruso would be proud of their granddaughter and third-generation candy maker, Julie Johnson, known to most in the community by only her first name. Second, third and even fourth generation business legacies are something this community knows well.

    At the Chamber’s Business After Hours March 13, co-hosted by Caruso’s, the legacy of candy-making that began in 1922 was feted, as attendees also congratulated Dick Judd on his upcoming retirement, as they welcomed Bryan and Jolynn Smith, the new owners of the business now marking its 160th year in the community.

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