BURLINGTON, N.C. -- A group of Burlington residents thought the downtown area could use a little more life.
So rather than wait for a business to move in, they created one themselves. "Burlington Beer Works" is a cooperatively-owned brewery and restaurant at the corner of South Main and East Front streets. It is not open yet, but founder Ian Baltutis said he hopes to begin construction soon.
"Our next major step is raising approximately half a million dollars to secure bank loan funding," Baltutis said. "For the next few months we'll be raising that capital. Then we'll begin construction early in 2016."
Baltutis said so far 1,100 people from across Burlington and across the state have committed money to become member-owners.
One of those is Elon restauranteur Peter Ustach.
"I think projects such as this will help bring more young professionals into this area," he said. "Which will help multiple businesses in this area continue to grow as well."
Ustach, who also serves on the Beer Works' board of directors, said a central downtown location was of paramount importance, as is the co-op model.
"The co-op is really what creates the growth for the community," Ustach said. "It's owned by the community."
For more information, visit burlingtonbeerworks.coop.