You hear it all the time: downtown is the heart of a city.
In one eastern KELOLAND community, the downtown has welcomed several new businesses in recent years and more people are moving to town.
"It's kind of always been a dream of mine, I guess," Sparkle and Sass Boutique Owner Somer Pickard said.
Only today it's a reality.
Somer Pickard is the owner of Sparkle and Sass Boutique, nestled in downtown Madison.
The first-time business owner opened up shop in the summer of 2015 after seeing the potential in the building.
"I just kept driving downtown and I saw this place that had been nothing for 19 years; it was just storage and I'm like, I knew my husband and I could do something with it," Pickard said.
Today, you'll find the walls and shelves lined with women's and children's apparel and accessories.
Pickard's store is a part of a growing scene in Madison.
"It's something right now that's just kind of happening," Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eric Hortness said.
Hortness says seven or eight businesses have opened up downtown in the past couple of years.
"Anywhere from restaurants, we have a Mexican restaurant that just recently opened up, to financial advisors, to boutiques, to thrift stores," Hortness said.
Encore Family Store started doing business in downtown Madison nearly three years ago.
Holly Van Dyke manages the thrift store, but she's also called the town home for about 10 years.
She's watched the downtown change over time.
"It used to be just dentist offices and law offices when I first came to town and now it's retail businesses. You can actually do shopping and stuff," Van Dyke said.
"There's been a lot of great businesses that have come up or some older businesses and they've re-vamped and done some things to the outside of their stores and buildings," Pickard said.
Overall the community is growing. According to estimates from the U.S. census, the town's population has increased by more than 900 from 2010 to 2016.
"With Madison growing in population, I think it's just going to continue to be a vibrant downtown area," Hortness said.
Van Dyke welcomes the newer additions to downtown. In fact, she says it's good for business.
"The more options you have for shopping the more people you have coming down here to visit your store that maybe didn't necessarily come to visit my store; maybe they came down for a different store and they saw us," Van Dyke said. Kelli Volk:
What do you see for the downtown area and the community as a whole in 10 years? Pickard:
I think it's going to grow.
She hopes that becomes a reality as she keeps living her dream in downtown Madison.
Hortness say several factors may be playing into the city's growth, including DSU expansion and the town's hospital, which moved to a new location in 2015.
© 2017 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.
Eye on KELOLAND