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It’s no surprise to anyone that I love Uptown, but a new energy is taking root there.

I recently coordinated a group of business owners and held tours of The Bank, 1501 Washington Ave., to see if we could turn that into a public market. (Lots of interest, but the vision is larger now!) I see a gorgeous flower just starting to bloom in Uptown. I didn’t always feel this way. I used to drive right through, like many of you probably still do. That all changed when I met Linea Anthony, owner of Racine Merchandise Mart and president of the business improvement district and tax incremental finance boards in Uptown. We met at a Racine Sustainable Business Network meeting and Linea’s infectious drive and wit had me falling in love with what Uptown can and will be.

In the last few months, Petals by Felicia, 1337 Washington Ave., opened, brightening up the curve. As you head towards downtown, Kabab & Grill, 1327 Washington Ave., is endlessly busy and DELISH. The flavor coming out of that place is incredible. The Bank sold recently and has the potential to be a gathering space full of collaboration and creativity. And of course you have the staples like the Corner House, 1521 Washington Ave. (Grasshopper anyone), Racine Merchandise Mart (Linea will make your home or office look good, I know firsthand!) and Picasso Vino (so much fun!).

There are talks of coffee shops, lunch counters opening and more.

It took a little walking around and walking into stores to see the good in Uptown. Businesses and entrepreneurs are starting to see the benefit of getting in at this level and growing with Uptown. I’m still discovering Uptown. Have you ever been to Uptown China? Did you know it’s a Chinese Food restaurant? They have glowing reviews on Facebook. I had no idea. I’m planning on stopping there for lunch this week.
My point in this rambling is that while progress doesn’t happen overnight – but it happens. And headed Uptown to frequent the businesses that are there – it helps. It helps bring new business in when there’s business to be had. So instead of complaining or driving through, stop and shop. Be the change you want to see by simply trying out a new place or recommending a shop in Uptown.

Who knows what next year will bring, but it certainly brings great things!

Missie Mauldin owns Miss Social, a social media company in Racine. In her blog she plans on highlighting several new businesses in Racine.