Fayetteville business owners say baseball stadium is an economic home run

Posted April 6, 2017 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated April 6, 2017 6:25 p.m. EDT

— It will be more than two years before a baseball stadium for North Carolina’s newest professional baseball team, the Buies Creek Astros, is ready, but area businesses are already looking forward to an influx of customers.

Downtown Fayetteville is on the upswing with the $33 million ballpark about to break ground. Microbreweries, coffee shops and apartments are all coming to Hay Street and business owners said the stadium will knock the economy out of the park.

Ashley and Jon Thompson have started a business called Pressed where they design t-shirts and make art. The couple could have gone back to their native Wisconsin after Jon left the Army, but downtown Fayetteville grabbed their hearts.

“It’s so tight-knit, it felt like home after a while,” Ashley Thompson said.

Now, a Houston Astros minor league team is putting its home base downtown, replacing an aging parking lot with a field of dreams.

“That’s just going to bring more people down here. The opportunity to open your own business is just more intriguing, I think, with that baseball stadium opening up,” Jon Thompson said.

The downtown area still has many vacant buildings. As a founder of the Downtown Alliance, Hank Parfitt said baseball will turn the “for lease” notices into welcome signs.

“And now, I think, you’re going to see some smart business people come in and take over some of these buildings and make some great things happen,” he said.

Barb Price, who lives in the Washington D. C. area, is opening Airborne Brew with her brothers. As veterans, they chose Fayetteville before they knew baseball was on tap.

“It’s a little town feel with big town opportunities,” Price said. “We already decided we loved Fayetteville, but then to find the stadium was coming too, it was like this is it, this is the place we have to be at.”

The baseball stadium is scheduled to open in 2019.