RAMSEUR, N.C. — There’s a new effort to breathe life into the downtown of one Triad city.
“I grew up here, and, back in the early 60s, downtown was very vibrant,” said Ramseur Mayor Danny Shaw. “You couldn’t hardly find a parking space in town.”
Memories of a bustling Main Street are still vibrant in Shaw’s memory. But he says, as more businesses opened on Highway 64 in Randolph County, downtown just couldn’t compete.
“I think a lot of them closed because the buildings are in need of repair," he said. "We just need some revitalization money in downtown Ramseur from the state government and federal government, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
But some activity has happened. A new gym opened this summer right in the middle of downtown Ramseur.
“We have functional aging for our elderly, strong by Zumba and that’s for everyone, boxing for the youth, adults," said Jaylin Brower with the Fit District. "We do women’s self-defense, our boot camp-style class. That’s for everyone and it’s all inclusive. Our athletic training, and then our personal development with our self-love class."
We introduced you to Jaylin in September when he opened a smoothie shop downtown called Ramseur Proud. He told us then that his long-term goal was to open a gym. Another man who had also been thinking about opening a gym in town saw our story and went to see Jaylin the next day.
Fast forward a few months, and the Fit District is a reality. And that smoothie shop is now housed in the back.
“This building is completely renovated — ceilings, floors, walls, locker rooms in the background. A little bit of everything,” said Jaylin.
He believes what his team did to transform their building can be done to transform all the empty spaces along Main Street. And he’s not alone.
“We do have a new bakery downtown," said Vicki Caudle. "We have a new gym. We have some stores downtown that are great for our community and we all try and work together. I try to send people downtown from here when they come in, let them know we have stores and businesses downtown that they can visit."
She’s one of the owners of Blue Horseshoe Antiques and Collectibles on Highway 64. She says the challenges for their downtown are not unique to Ramseur. Neither are the solutions.
“It’s imperative that the town work together, that the communities, the businesses, the town officials and the chamber of commerce all work together to create that community of support for everyone," she said. "When the businesses grow, the town grows.”
Jaylin says he hopes to see a grocery store downtown, as well as clothing stores, and a shoe store.