“We're kind of holding our own,” said Mayor Dewey Roche.
Roche said Auburn will often gain a business and then lose one, a cycle he hopes to break by bringing in businesses that will be around for a while.
When it comes to drawing other businesses and residents, Roche points out many of Auburn's assets. With two banks, a Minit Mart, a Dollar General Store, antique stores, an auto parts store, a few restaurants, a dentist, several other speciality small businesses, an excellent school and several churches, Auburn has a good bit to offer for a town its size.
“Compared to some small cities we're doing well,” Roche said.
As far as industry is concerned, Roche pointed to Auburn Leather and Cauldwell Gasket companies.
Auburn's location- just a few miles outside of Bowling Green- is inviting to many wanting to live in a smaller town with a more rural atmosphere Roche said he expects much of the residential development in the new subdivision will be people who work in Bowling Green.
In the last year, Auburn has seen some businesses open and others close.
About a year ago, Kim's Salon on Main opened behind US Bank and that business is doing well. Shelton has been in business at other locations in Auburn but said she likes the visibility of being right off Main Street.
Roche was also pleased to announce that the old city hall has a new tenant, Legacy Plans Inc., an insurance company owned and operated by Allen Costellow.
“We are a full-service agency,” Costellow said, meaning they will offer all kinds of insurance. Costellow specializes in retirement planning and is a certified senior advisor.
The agency will open Jan. 2 and will probably employ three to five people. Costellow said they are moving everything from Bowling Green to Auburn and are bringing some agents with them.
Another new business in Auburn is Life Force, located in the Sugar Maple Center. Life Force is run by Dana Bell, who offers kick boxing classes for women there. Bell, who is a certified professional trainer, also offers personal training to women and couples.
One business that opened earlier this year in Auburn, Wild Country Dance Hall and Restaurant, has recently closed. However, Roche said Debbie and Dennis Burris, who owned and operated Wild Country, have plans to sub-lease the building so it won't be vacant and closed long.
One vacant building Roche said he would love to see become a business is the old Uncle Tom's on the corner of Main and Lincoln streets. He said he's had someone express interest in the building, but nothing has materialized yet.
With the longstanding businesses like the Lion and the Lamb Antiques, Cox's Variety Store, the Pool Hall and Nan's, along with newcomers like Logan Outpost Guns and Ammo and others, Roche said Auburn is doing well overall.
He is also pleased that construction on the low-income senior housing that has been in the works for a while should begin this spring.
Looking to the next year, Roche would love to see current businesses thrive and new businesses locate in Auburn.
“And everyone would love to see a small factory locate here,” Roche said.
Roche said one thing Auburn has going for it is its genuine small-town atmosphere where people are willing to help their neighbors and customer service is important.
“A lot of people are going back to the smaller towns and the old-time small businesses,” Roche said.
While traveling, Roche said he often visits towns about the size of Auburn to see how they are doing and what they have and don't have. His visits to these cities, while sometimes making him realize ways Auburn can improve, have also made him thankful for all that the town has.
“We're not as good as some,” Roche said, “but we're better than most.”