MADISON, N.C. (WGHP) — You can now sip and shop at the same time in downtown Madison.
The town kicked off its social district on Friday evening. It’s the first of its kind in Rockingham County.
The town modeled this concept based on other cities’ social districts. You get a cup with a special sticker on it. Then you can take it anywhere along Murphy and South Market Streets.
Business owners said they see how successful the social districts are in Greensboro and High Point, and they want to bring a piece of that to their town.
“If we can bring more foot traffic downtown and more people spend time here, we’re all going to get a little piece of that business that comes to town,” said David Peters, who owns Hell on Horsecreek Brewing.
People can now walk down the streets of Downtown Madison and visit local shops with an alcoholic beverage in hand. The social district runs on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 8 p.m.
“You don’t have to saddle up at the bar now,” Peters said. “You can get a drink and go take it and go shop with your family.”
While Peters’ brewery saw a crowd Friday night, he thinks the concept will take a little time to really take off.
“We think it’ll be a slow build,” he said. “Is it going to be this great lottery winnings? No. But it’s going to be that little bit extra that comes in every day, every week.”
Peters’ brewery is one of five places serving alcohol. They’re marked with special “order here” stickers on the windows.
Corie Doss, who owns Wine Nox, hopes the social district will draw people from nearby cities to her wine bar.
“I think this will help bring just that Summerfield crowd, Oakridge, maybe people that go to Downtown Greensboro for their social district to come out here,” she said.
It’s not just about attracting customers, though. Doss thinks this is the boost downtown needs to revitalize the area and bring in more businesses.
“Just to see how much of a crowd we get in for the social district, it might help other people be like ‘Oh, I can open a business in Madison,'” she said. “I don’t have to be in Greensboro or High Point.”
The social district kicked off just in time for summer. People can enjoy the river during the day, and then spend their nights downtown.
It’s just one step town leaders are taking to make Madison a destination for people in the Piedmont Triad.
“We just think the more reasons people have to spend downtown and spend more time downtown. it’s going to be good for everybody here,” Peters said.
The only rule is if you buy a drink at one place, you can’t take it into another business selling alcohol.
Right now, there isn’t much outdoor seating in the downtown area. Town leaders said the goal is to eventually set up more tables and chairs to further entice people to spend time downtown.