THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- When was the last time you took a stroll in downtown Thomasville? Things are changing, and changing fast.
Since the first Downtown Strong Initiative meeting in April, one store has opened its doors and six others are preparing to open up shop soon.
Three of them are right next to each other on the same block of Main Street.
"Giving these new buildings life, I mean I think it's just great," said Staci King, a Thomasville business owner.
Walking through the streets of downtown Thomasville, there's something new in the air. It's the feeling of hope and new beginnings.
"A lot of small businesses have started to come together, doing a lot more community events, just trying to get everyone involved," she said.
King is working on fixing up her new vintage store, The Black Rose, before opening up at the end of the month.
"It's one amazing city and we're looking forward to expanding and making things great," she said.
On Salem Street, there's a big red sign, reading "Coming Soon!"
It's J.J. Ring's sign.
"In the 80s and 90s, when I was a child, you'd see sidewalks full, a lot of businesses open, people downtown hustling and bustling and shopping," Ring said. "It all went away with the furniture industry. I want to see it come back. I want to see the growth and see people spending time here."
Ring already owns "J.J.'s Side Street Deli," nestled in the antique emporium.
He says he's ready for more. He's opening up a coffee and ice cream shop in the next couple of weeks.
"We want to bring something good downtown. Hopefully we can be an example for other people to get the ball rolling," Ring said.
King also has hope for the future.
"I hope it's a place that families feel comfortable during the day to come out here, walk the streets and support local shops," she said.
King and Ring say they could not have done it without the city's support.
The next Downtown Strong Initiative meeting is Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Twelve West Main Event Center.
They want everyone to come out and help make downtown a better place