ANDERSON, Ind. — Just over one week after a group of business owners gathered to discuss concerns about the city’s downtown area, plans for a new merchant association are underway.
“I think it should be historical downtown association,” said Claudette Bettencourt.
She said she is considering naming the new group the Historic Downtown Anderson Merchant’s Association and hopes to elect the group's officers during a meeting on Tuesday.
Bettencourt, owner of Your Way Café, 1023 Meridian St., and Conscious Creations, 1019 Meridian St., said she had hoped to unite downtown Anderson into one group, but after discussing the issue with members of the Anderson Indiana Main Street (AIMS) association, decided the two groups had different goals.
On April 22, Bettencourt gathered more than a dozen business owners and leaders to discuss problems the downtown merchants were facing. Several members of AIMS attended the meeting along with Mayor Kevin Smith and other city officials.
Smith briefly addressed the group praising its efforts to take action in bringing business to the downtown area. Following the meeting, he also said he supported Bettencourt’s efforts to create a new organization.
“The more groups we have downtown, the more we can focus on downtown and the better we all are for it,” Smith said.
Bettencourt, who had created an agenda with nearly 20 items to address during the initial meeting, said she decided to form the new organization because AIMS is going in a different direction.
“All of Madison County should and can support the downtown area,” Bettencourt said. “We shouldn’t get fractured. As Feb. 5, I would have been willing to have it be one group, but I don’t think we can be one group anymore.”
Nancy Moneyhun, president of AIMS, attended the initial meeting and said she is disappointed Bettencourt feels the need to start a new association.