After spending three days visiting with people and looking at downtown buildings in Sleepy Eye, downtown consultant Ron Drake drew a large crowd to his community presentation on Wednesday evening, April 11, at the Sleepy Eye Event Center. The space was set with 200 chairs and before Drake started his talk, Event Center Manager Lisa Steffl was already pulling open a room divider to provide more seating.

Drake spoke and showed slides of his projects in other towns, including his hometown, Siloam Springs, Ark. He emphasized creating high end apartments above downtown buildings and creating a cool factor on a reasonable budget. Another of his messages was that retail is not dead, rather, “Boring retail is dead,” he said, pointing out that cute, unique shops draw shoppers.

Drake’s presentation seemed to be well-received by those in attendance. Several people came up to speak with him afterwards.

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