Dan Boecher sees entrepreneurs as a key to the ongoing recovery of downtown Elkhart. And not just because they can bring business to the city’s core. He also knows entrepreneurs can get people excited about possibilities.
“When people see a little progress, they want to see more,” Boecher says.
You could say Boecher gets paid to think that way. As Executive Director of Downtown Elkhart Inc., it’s his job to promote the downtown area. But he’s been a fan of Elkhart’s heart since long before he took that job in December of 2013. In fact, a while back he launched his own entrepreneurial foray into downtown Elkhart, buying properties to renovate and lease and leading organizations dedicated to the downtown resurgence.
Now he’s got even more skin in the game.
Most recently a loan offer for Lake City Bank, Boecher originally moved to Elkhart in the 1990s to serve as the city’s economic development director, and he also has worked as director of EARN, the Elkhart Association of River Neighborhoods. Over the years, he says he’s been impressed and inspired by people who are putting themselves on the line to open businesses in the city’s core. “They are legit entrepreneurs who are risking everything,” he says.
These entrepreneurs’ willingness to collaborate for the good of the community are one big reason Boecher feels confident in investing his own money in downtown Elkhart. “There is that kind of community thing,” he says. “You realize, ‘I’m not crazy.
’”Why this focus on the downtown area? Because Boecher believes it offers opportunities to entrepreneurs who, in turn, help to strengthen the city as a whole. “Downtowns are the drivers of the future,” he says. “They’re pushing and energizing entrepreneurship, giving people the opportunity to be a part of something bigger.”
Elkhart County, IN Entrepreneurs
"Downtowns are the drivers of the future. They're pushing and energizing entrepreneurship, giving people the opportunity to be a part of something bigger."