Big Shopping Cart for Cary New Village Leader Works to Spur Community's Economic Development

Article excerpt

Byline: Max Seigle Daily Herald Staff Writer

Like many people, Pam Blickem loves to shop.

Unlike many people, her eyes tend to focus more on who owns the stores rather than on what the owners are hanging on the racks.

"As I shop, I now pay more attention to which developers own the malls and strip malls," Blickem said. "I pay attention to how they look. Are the anchors there for a long period of time?"

Blickem has actually been doing this for about 15 years, working in economic development for the city of DeKalb, Kishwaukee Community College in Malta and most recently for the village of Cary.

Blickem, who is from Sycamore, joined the village staff about a month ago, filling a new position as a community economic development coordinator.

The village board created the new post last year to guide the village's future commercial growth as well as maintain existing businesses.

Doing the former should not be too difficult for Blickem, who sealed deals in DeKalb that brought retailers like Target, Super Wal-Mart and Lowe's hardware store to the area.

While she would love to bring these type of big-box retailers to Cary, Blickem wants to make room for the small business owner, too. And she not only has experience at attracting them, but working for them as well.

Growing up in Shelbyville in southern Illinois, Blickem did everything from sweeping floors to purchasing at her parents independent grocery store.

When she moved to Sycamore, she did bookkeeping for small apparel shops.

Aside from attracting new business, Blickem wants to make sure existing businesses continue to prosper. …