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Baldwin Park seeks help after a string of businesses close

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A string of businesses in Baldwin Park have closed their doors, prompting Baldwin Park officials to request expert help to revive the struggling retail area.

"We moved to Florida specifically to live in Baldwin," Baldwin Park resident Heather Bell said.

Although Bell loves the neighborhood, she said the Village Center's empty storefronts are a disappointment. Many of the shops never make it in the community that is packed with six-figure salaries.

"Just because you make a lot of money doesn't mean you want to spend a lot," Bell said.
A team from Rollins College is now investigating what type of businesses can thrive in the area.

"I don't want to give the impression that we are MBA's and we'll come in and tell you how to run your business. But we all come from a diverse set of experience levels and backgrounds, so I definitely think we're qualified to figure this out," said John Costa from the Rollins MBA team.

Costa is part of a team of marketing students working on a plan that begins with reaching out to residents.

"What do they value? If we can identify what they value, we can help the Village Center think about what type of establishments they need to put here," said Jule Gassenheimer from Rollins College.

The team has until the end of the semester to have this solution ready.

"This is a tight deadline to turn this around. We're used to it," Costa said.

Bell hopes the Rollins Team can bring change, but it may not be easy when even the major coffee shops have closed.

"I hate to say this. So many people are addicted to Starbucks and the flavor. You know, it is what it is what it is," Bell said