Pontiac leaders work to revive city to attract more people, new businesses

Posted at 8:32 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 20:32:53-05

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — The new mayor of Pontiac and business owners spoke out on Monday about big changes in the works to attract more people and new companies to the city.

Pontiac city leaders say they want to continue the revitalization of downtown, bringing back one business at a time.

“With a new council and mayor, I'm very optimistic. Each neighborhood, each business working together,” Pontiac native Christopher Donaldson said.

Donaldson has called Pontiac home for 49 years, but he says now more than ever, optimism is surging for the city’s future as more storefronts are filled with go-to destinations.

“We need the restaurants to supply more things that people want,” Donaldson said.

Brewer Andrew Poehlman workers at Fillmore 13 Brewery downtown, where a loyal customer base has grown quickly in five years. He’s also a believer in Pontiac’s rebound.

“Pontiac is more personable — a town where you get to know the locals and they know you. What I love about this area is all the potential and how much fun we have when we do events,” Poehlman said.

Mayor Tim Greimel says it’s important that Pontiac is branded as “the heart and soul of Oakland County.”

“We’ve got to make the city a much more pro-business, business-friendly environment. I think we need to have conversations with United Wholesale Mortgage especially, but also with Amazon and others about incentivizing their employees to live in Pontiac,” Greimel said.

While much work remains, those who’ve stayed open for 30 years or more see what’s taking shape as progress.

“To see this city get its attention it deserves would really make the time we spent down here worthwhile,” said Shelby Berger, owner of Main Street Pawn Shop, a family-owned businesses that’s been open for decades.

The mayor says the marketing campaign he has planned is also part of a plan to attract new business and bring more talent as well.