Main Street to redefine its west side

August 6, 2013

If you’re looking to start a small business or take an existing business and benefit from affordable prices, a Main Street business owner is saying that you should look at Elkin’s downtown.

“Now is the time to get in,” said Cicely McCulloch of Diana’s Bookstore.

Multiple storefront vacancies along the west side of Main Street have popped up in recent weeks.

Been Framed has moved out of downtown. So has Cavu Printing. Add the String of Pearls to the list too. Throw in a cake shop, as well.

For downtown economies, vacancies lead to new faces.

“That’s not necessarily a negative,” said McCulloch.

According to McCulloch, these types of markets also provide the best incentives for people looking to lease property and could lead to a correction on some of the rents costs.

“We can do great things for downtown so long as the rents stay affordable. If the property owners want out, they should sell the building at a realistic price too,” she said.

McCulloch, who also serves as a commissioner for the Town of Elkin, splits her time between the bookstore and The Liberty, a former tobacco warehouse on the east side of Main Street now redeveloped into a prime banquet and retail location.

The community manager for the Town of Elkin also addressed the storefront vacancies and the potential of what it can bring in.

“Time for new business to arrive and redefine the west end,” said Laura Gaylord.

Sarah Long of Boone visited Elkin for a local music festival. According to Long, her passion is music and serving coffee beans from around the world. Long has ambition to open up a small coffee shop allowing customers to walk in and grab a “cup of anywhere,” as she calls it.

“Coffee beans from different parts of the world have completely different flavors. Customers can come in, read information on the coffee, crush the bean and brew what they want instantly,” said Long. Serve that up with homemade desserts and treats passed down by my grandma, it’s a chance I’m willing to take.”

When Long was asked if that chance can be in a downtown Elkin storefront, the 28-year-old smiled and said that it depends.

“If I were thinking of opening my business here, I would be demanding cheap rent. There’s not a lot of people here. On the other hand, I see a lot of potential. If I can balance ad and branding costs and offset the costs by an affordable lease, it can work,” she said.

Vacancies don’t only exist for storefronts.

“I have empty offices for rent,” said property owner John Van Hoy.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-836-1513 or email at agonzalez@civitasmedia.com.