THOMASVILLE, N.C. – A handful of new businesses in downtown Thomasville are thriving, just months after opening their doors.
Now business owners are joining together to hold a brand new event for the community and they hope it will inspire others to get on board with a vision for revitalization in downtown Thomasville.
They're hosting the first-ever "Bloktoberfest" on Saturday, October 14 from 12 to 7 p.m. All of JW Thomas Way will be blocked off for the event.
Business owners want to see Thomasville pick back up. They say it's not quite there yet, but it's on the right track.
The bustling businesses on Salem Street are vibrant, different and new. Salem Vintage R&R, the Copper Still Taproom and Refined & Co. have all been open for about a year. They have something else in common.
"There's a lot of people that are glad we're here," said Mike Hutton, the co-owner of the Copper Still Taproom.
"It's been huge," added Mandy Woodring, the co-owner of Refined & Co.
It's their quick success.
"That has been kind of the surprise, of how well we've been received," said William Slack, the owner of Salem Vintage.
These owners know they all took a risk when they chose to open up shop in downtown Thomasville, after the economy took a dip when furniture production left the city.
"I'd say we were a little bit skeptical at first," Woodring said.
"There are days when we're scared, like how are we going to get past this next big benchmark?" Slack said.
But they all chose the Chair City with the same vision, to help revitalize the business community.
"We wanted to bring something to Thomasville that they don't have to help to boost the city back to where it used to be," Hutton said.
"This opportunity presented itself and we were like, why wouldn't we? Let's bring it back to Thomasville," Woodring said. She and Amber McBride, her sister and co-owner, both grew up in Thomasville.
They say more locally-owned restaurants and shops are key to downtown growth and Thomasville has the space to make it happen.
"We have all these buildings down here, that they need love," Woodring said.
The building that now holds the Copper Still Taproom was condemned when Hutton got his hands on it.
"There's beautiful buildings that just need to be brought back to life," he said.
"Everyone has obviously seen the amazing revival that's taken place in Winston and Greensboro," Slack added.
Now, it's Thomasville's turn to turn this vision into reality.
"Nine, ten o'clock at night, and people are walking around with their coffee, and they're shopping from shop to shop, and they've gone to the local restaurant to eat," Woodring said.
"It's on its way back, but it's going to be a long road," Slack said.