By Allison Barnett
Managing Partner, North 32nd, Inc.

Our community has experienced a significant amount of change in the last five years. We have many new businesses and new neighbors. As with any change, it is possible to experience some growing pains. Since the beginning of the current revitalization efforts, we continue to encourage our community to rise the tide up by looking for the positive rather than the negative.

Certainly, as parking lots fill up, it is possible to experience frustration. Frustration may beget animosity, which is one of the reasons we continue to encourage a positive outlook when engaging with each other and local businesses about parking. We still have plenty of parking for the new restaurants at 32nd St. and Shea, with the parking behind the building at Paradise Hills. There is also ample parking near 32nd St. and Cactus.

This is also a very active community where biking and walking are encouraged as well. Most of the new businesses have installed bike racks. If they have not yet installed bike racks, we encourage you to ask them to install bike racks or maybe even install more if needed.

As our community has grown, we are lucky enough that we have created communities within our larger community. There are neighbors that gather for weekly get-togethers. There are the communities that gather together to enjoy and support our businesses and schools: Craft Nights, 32 Shea, OHSO, Lovecraft, Black Rock Bouldering Gym, Arizona Sunrays, Mercury Mine, Desert Cove, Shea Middle, Shadow Mountain, Desert Voices, Young Mind Center, Music Together, Empower Wellness Studio, Wright in the Garden, and much more.

Unfortunately, we have also lost some favorite businesses as our community has grown. There are a variety of reasons that a business may close. It is possible rent increases make the profitability of the business less feasible, other times businesses have sold and the new owners decided that the business is no longer viable, or a larger company may look at stores across the country and determine that certain stores are not performing as well.

In each case, it is a difficult decision to close the doors of a business and certainly can be frustrating for a community that values those businesses. It is also important to look ahead to find new businesses that will fit well within the fabric of the community. Rather focus on the businesses that we do not want in our area, if we focus on the businesses that we want to attract, the likelihood of attracting those businesses increases.

A few years ago, we set out a little notepad and asked our neighbors to write down what they would like to see in our community at one of the costume parties in the park. Some of the items that were written included: an ice cream shop, more restaurants within walking and biking distance, more coffee shops, and more local businesses. There were even more items on this wish list, but these are just a few that we have achieved as a community since the revitalization began.

Change is certain. We will continue to attract the businesses that we seek to fill vacancies in our strip malls by looking ahead to the types of businesses that we would like in our community. As a community, let’s continue to be kind to each other and rise the tide up as North 32nd continues to evolve to the next phase.

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Allison Barnett is the managing partner of North 32nd, Inc. which is bringing revitalization of the community through strategic partnerships with the City of Phoenix as well as local businesses.