Mayoral candidate Fred Glynn’s Feb. 20 letter paints Mayor Jim Brainard’s 23-year record of turning Carmel into a business powerhouse as “bad for small business.” Carmel’s business owners know better than that.
I’ve lived in central Indiana for almost 49 years. I moved to Carmel with my family in 2000 and opened Pedego Electric Bikes along the Monon Trail in 2017. I’ve watched Mayor Brainard build a city that attracts both high paying jobs (I read that we have more than 125 corporate headquarters) and high-income residents (we don’t need the non-stop “Best Place” awards to know that Carmel is great). Those daytime and evening spenders, an eclectic mix of crowd-drawing events, farmers markets and ice rink activities, combined with the mayor’s efforts with Small Business Saturday and the Carmel Small Business Network, is why we see the city’s retail properties of all classes and rental rates stay packed with local businesses.
In an era of nationwide retail-sector struggles, Carmel’s economy is filled with locally-owned, profitable restaurants, boutiques, galleries and many other businesses one can imagine. And new ones keep opening up. I know we all work really hard, and things aren’t always easy, but the core of my business is bicycles that retail for several thousand dollars. I’m pleased with the success of my business so far, and I feel this is a great barometer of the small business environment created by Mayor Brainard in our city.
Glynn also singles out the city’s purchase of Monon Square, the 1960’s strip center surrounded on all sides by investment and renewal, as an affront to small businesses. I see the city purchasing the center as a sign that our local businesses can be protected during redevelopment. I know that Mayor Brainard’s redevelopment efforts will result in the beautiful walkable and bikable environment that my customers love and help first-floor retail stay successful. I also read that annual property taxes paid by the Monon Square parcel are expected to increase from $61,000 a year to $2.7 million a year. As a resident, I appreciate that.
I speak for my fellow small business owners when I say that Mayor Brainard’s transformation of Carmel into one of the best places in America to live, work and shop has also made it one of the best places in America to own a small business. Fred Glynn’s letter may have included some beautiful imagery, but the substance of his arguments are flat out wrong, and Carmel small business owners know better than that.
Josh Freedman, Carmel