Fulton, Illinois wants to see a new restaurant come to its downtown, and a group of residents-turned-private investors hopes to make that happen by buying a building themselves.
The Fulton Retail Development Group invests in Downtown Fulton by buying old buildings, fixing them up, and putting them back on the market - allowing business owners to move in without having to sink a lot of money into a new storefront.
The group's next goal is to bring a new restaurant into the village. It just bought two connected buildings and will replace the roof in the spring.
The plan is to put the building in a rent to own lease, allowing a new restaurant owner to get started without having to get a loan and pay a down payment.
After a few years of collecting rent payments, the group would sell the building and move on to another project.
"You can really judge a small town by its Main Street and I think we're doing quite well," Charles Dykstra, Fulton Retail Development Group president, said.
The group has already restored two other buildings in Fulton. That has spurred some of the surrounding owners to spruce up their shops as well.
It is actively seeking new investors to help continue the revitalization efforts, and hopes to have another $100,000 in the bank.
The Fulton Retail Development Group started after a retired couple fixed up one of the most run down buildings in the downtown 12 years ago, because they wanted to make the downtown more attractive for tourists.
Fulton's windmill brings 10,000 people to the area annually.