Thomasville one of 24 communities selected for state’s Downtown Strong initiative

THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Big changes are coming to Thomasville and officials want the community to be a part of them.

On April 1, discussions will begin on what would be the best way to expand and grow the downtown area.

The City of Thomasville was one of 24 communities selected across the state to get access to advisers and assistance in order to revitalize the area. It's a part of the North Carolina Department of Commerce's Downtown Strong initiative.

"Downtowns are traditionally the heart of the community. Most people gauge how well a community is doing, based on what they see in downtown," said Michael Brandt, assistance city manager of Thomasville.

When people walk along the streets of downtown Thomasville, there's empty building after empty building. But there are also some changes happening.

"We're doing really well considering where we were a few years ago," Brandt said. "We've had a number of new businesses open up in the downtown area, a lot of renovations ongoing."

He says things will only continue to change with the help of the Downtown Strong initiative.

"We're going to have professionals here who've been in the business of downtown economic development for many years," Brandt said. "They'll come to town and evaluate the streetscape and evaluate the buildings, and give us ideas for what we can do to make improvements."

Possible improvements include filling up the empty stores and bringing people into downtown.

"I'm excited to see where it's going," Jeff Boid said.

Boid has only had his new store, Sugar Rush, open for days.

He chose a downtown location because he has faith in his community.

"[I'm] really excited to get more business in and get more people interested in Thomasville," he said. "I believe it's going to be a good thing."

He believes good things take time.

"If they continue to go in the direction they're going, it's going to go like Greensboro and Winston Salem. It's going to be booming," Boid said.

Both Boid and Brandt believe the most important thing is teamwork and and a unified community.

"When you've had a place that's had a rough go of it, it's sometimes hard for people to re-look at those areas and say, 'Oh yeah, there's something here and I can be a part of it,'" Brandt said. "That's what we're trying to do."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.