Local News

New Business Brewing in Downtown Fayetteville

Posted February 14, 2000

— With time comes progress in downtown Fayetteville, where empty storefronts are seeing new life.

Most of the buildings on Hay Street have now been bought, including one that will soon be an Internet cafe on the first floor, with offices up above.

Things are brewing at Rude Awakenings, a coffee shop that just opened for business.

"I think there is a lot happening, so we're kind of riding the crest of the wave, and we hope to keep on with that," says business owner Molly Arnold.

A sporting goods store, a deli and a few other restaurants also opened recently.

Coming soon are the new Public Works Commission building, an art house, many offices and apartments.

All the construction has sparked the interest of Heather Johnson. She does not work nearby, but makes it a point to eat lunch downtown at least once a week.

"I just like the atmosphere," she says. "It's just really down to earth, it's real simple, it's quiet. I just really enjoy it. I just love downtown and hope it becomes more than it is."

A city development committee is hoping for that too. The committee is asking the city council to approve a matching grant program that would help property owners spruce up their buildings.

Huyen and Nu Pham have owned a shoe shop downtown for 18 years. They have stuck it out, even when times were tough. They are encouraged downtown is on the heels of a comeback.

"It's a new spirit, that's what I think," says Nu Pham. "Hopefully it's getting better for everybody."

The organization that promoted economic development downtown was dissolved last year afteraccusations of mismanagement.

Two new groups are in the works. A steering committee has suggested a new group be formed to focus on economic development. It has also suggested a Merchants Association be started to help plan parades and attract other events to downtown.

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