PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) - Listen closely in Pontiac and you'll hear the buzz and bustle of city sounds in a place that is still waiting to make a big city like debut.
The popular Slows BBQ closed its doors in Pontiac citing a lack of foot traffic. Part of the reason is that they were betting on foot traffic from the Strand Theatre. But a closer look at Pontiac shows there's more doors opening than closing in its downtown.
"They had a different promotional plan from what I understand when they started out that did not work out quite the way they wanted to. Their business plan had been expecting a lot more for traffic so I can understand they wanted to rethink that," Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman said.
Strand Theatre is working with new promoters now and is looking to turn the corner on that chapter and invite bigger name talent. But there's plenty of progress in Pontiac too -- this summer 3,000 new employees are coming to work downtown.
"United Shore will be moving into town, bringing in 2,400 new employees and a lot of them are millennials (on) June 4. We have the Williams International, which is diversifying our economy. Then an arrow space defense contractor that makes turbine engines. They'll be moving into Pontiac," said Karen Buscemi.
Buscemi owns Detroit Sewn, a company of 10 people in a city that makes it affordable.
"After almost 3 years of being here I am still surprised that there are so few new places opening in so many open store fronts," she said.
And then there's Aldi and Menards, two stores that are locating in the Village of Bloomfield on Telegraph. With 78 of the 83 acres of the long forgotten strip of land turning into stores, it's very much a village of Pontiac. As for the Strand Theatre, this weekend a Chicago blues series is the start to what operators hope will be music to the ears of Pontiac patrons new and old.
"Encore is negotiations with a pretty significant promoter that they hope to finalize in the next couple weeks," said Kyle Westberg with Strand Theater, adding they will likely do between 6 and 12 shows per month.