There are few more troubling sights in a downtown than empty storefronts, and Warren's downtown has several.
The news Wednesday that Northwest Savings plans to expand on two streets in the downtown by purchasing buildings for new construction was welcome indeed. One of those buildings has four empty fronts on the downtown's east-west thoroughfare.
While the fortunes (perhaps misfortunes would be better) of the economy have caused many businesses and industries to pull in their reins, Northwest has been a success story built on sound banking philosophy. It avoided the temptation that lured many other banks into the quagmire of sub-prime lending and questionable investment strategies.
The fact that Northwest needs more space for its headquarters is an indication that the company foresees continued growth and is satisfied its plans and projections are solid enough to justify the expansion. This is not a company that shoots from the hip.
For the City of Warren, it means this regional bank plans to stay right where it is. And, it's an indication that there is potential for new employment in the downtown area, although Northwest did not specify new employment in its announcement. More people downtown means a larger commercial market and the possibility that some of the other empty storefronts will have a better chance of being filled with commercial enterprises.
Here is a clean, community-friendly enterprise that is expanding its presence in the city, and there's no downside to that.
The old saying goes: Nothing succeeds like success. Here's hoping that some of Northwest's success rubs off on a downtown that sorely needs it.