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VERNON, MI-Village officials believe a new restaurant and sporting goods store are setting the stage for a rebirth of their struggling Downtown. Recent renewed interest in the one-block Downtown inGenesee County, near Flint, plagued with vacant storefronts for nearly a decade, has prompted village officials to consider resurrecting its Downtown Development Authority.

“This is a very exciting time for us to have this kind of development going on Downtown,” clerk Daniel Luick says. “A lot of other towns…have been suffering from a lack of business. It’s not a problem exclusive to Vernon.”

The Village Cafe restaurant and a sporting goods store are slated to open in buildings on opposite corners of E. Main and N. Walnut streets, the clerk says. The family-style restaurant may start serving breakfast and lunch by Nov. 1 in the former Vernon Plumbing & Heating building. In recent years, a businessman used the building strictly for storage. The building is being remodeled to restore its 1800s vintage look.

The sporting goods store will open within the next year, says Christina Taylor, who owns the building with her husband, William. Contractors have been busy ripping off plaster, refurbishing bricks and installing new windows. The Perry woman says they decided to open a business in Vernon because they got a good price for the building.

“It was price and hopes that someday the town could make a turnaround,” she adds. The new businesses follow the opening of two others within the past couple of years: the Sweets and Treats ice cream shop and the Vernon Palace.

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