Go Cedar Rapids had a bigger role for many local businesses than spearheading the failed Newbo Evolve.

It was an organization many relied on for their marketing, promotion and outreach in the community in general. Without that assistance, many are feeling confused, if not betrayed.

One such business is the Marion Chocolate Shop, owned by Gae Sharp-Richardson. A $1,200 annual membership and advertising check was paid to (and deposited by) Go Cedar Rapids in September by the business owner, but with the organization folding, that money has basically disappeared without a trace, and it's cost her business.

The hardest part of the situation for Richardson was finding out about Go Cedar Rapids' struggles through the newspaper alone. Like the loyal member of the Cedar Rapids area business community she is, she's less concerned about getting paid back as she is about the hit Cedar Rapids' reputation is taking.

All of us in Cedar Rapids can and will continue to debate, discuss and complain about Newbo Evolve, but when the dust settles, the businesses involved have to try to operate and thrive without the help of a partner that was so vital to them.

That is one of the quiet tragedies of Newbo Evolve's disastrous aftermath. If nothing else, these business operators deserve an apology from the architects of the project.

[Via CBS2]


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