Ninth Street business owners see Durham scene change
Posted September 28, 2011
Durham, N.C. — Business owners on Durham's Ninth Street near the Duke University campus say buzz is building in the Bull City, but not necessarily in their neck of the woods.
"It seems like downtown gets all the attention and all the ink in the paper and the press, if we could just get our fair share of that," said John Valentine, co-owner of the Regulator Bookshop.
In the store's 35 years on Ninth Street, Valentine said it has seen its share of ups and downs.
"People's dollars (are) stretched, so they are going to Southpoint, to downtown, to Chapel Hill, to Erwin Road," he said.
Valentine said he's glad to see growth elsewhere in Durham, but doesn't want people to forget about the unique shops and restaurants on Ninth Street, which is sometimes called the heart of the city.
"It's pretty eclectic," he said.
Danielle Martini-Rios, who opened Blue Corn Cafe in 1997, agreed.
"I love that you can stand here at any given moment and see all sorts of people," Martini-Rios said.
But, she said, her restaurant and neighboring businesses have "struggled a little bit in the past year." She and Valentine are hopeful that the popular melting pot of students and townies will remain an important fixture in the community, despite Durham's evolving business landscape.
"I'm proud of being on this street this many years and hope to be here another 15 or more," she said.
Some Ninth Street business owners said the city has played a role in their decline. They said lighting needs to be improved in the area, specifically in parking areas.
A city spokeswoman said there are no plans to update or change existing lighting on the street and that the amount of lighting is "quite good."