New businesses, expansions, renovations
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Things have been pretty busy in downtown Newnan lately – construction is ongoing at two downtown restaurants, several shops have moved, new ones have opened, three are expanding, and one restaurant has closed.
“Recently, we have had a great uptick in entrepreneurial activity, including home-grown businesses, new locations, expansions from within,” said Newnan Business Development Director Hasco Craver IV.
The city is also wrapping up the repaving of the Gov. Ellis Arnall public parking lot on Perry Street. Months ago, several mature trees were removed from the parking lot because their roots had caused the pavement to buckle. The lot has now been repaved, with one large tree remaining at the center and smaller trees planted in two new beds. There is also better handicapped parking accessibility, according to Newnan Public Works Director Michael Klahr.
The parking lot was in need of maintenance and Coweta County “had expressed the need for accessible handicap spaces” to serve visitors to the County Administration Building, Klahr said.
Nearby at the back of the recently-opened Meat ’N Greet restaurant on Jefferson Street, workers are constructing a patio for outdoor seating. It will be the first dedicated outdoor seating for a downtown restaurant, said Craver. There are some other restaurants with “café seating” on the sidewalk, but not a dedicated outdoor dining area.
“I’m just hopeful that it creates a buzz for outdoor dining and then we start seeing more and more locations consider it,” Craver said. He’d like to see the city government consider café and other outdoor seating ideas as a goal. “There are all kinds of great uses for some of our back alleyways, and rooftop dining. All kinds of different options are out there,” he said.
LaFiesta on Jackson Street is working on facade renovations, and Leaf and Bean on West Court Square recently replaced the plate glass window that was damaged in a vehicle crash several months ago.
Shepard and Shell Financial Services also completed a full facade renovation.
Several new businesses have opened in the past few months, including Downtown Olive and Kitchen Supply on Greenville Street, Southcrest Mortgage on South Court Square, New McCBE Boutique on Perry Street and Southern Décor and More on LaGrange Street at Spring. First Newnan Insurance has moved into downtown on Jefferson Street at Madison.
Other businesses have moved or expanded. Vinyl Chatter is moving from Greenville Street to the former Scott’s Bookstore on South Court Square. Corner Arts Gallery moved to the former site of Bell’s Handcrafts, also on South Court Square, and Encore Decor moved from East Court Square to a space on Greenville Street.
Those moves have given three other businesses the opportunity to expand into vacant spaces next door. Kendra’s expanded into the space formerly occupied by Corner Arts Gallery, C.S. Toggery is expanding into the space left by Encore Decor, and Stairway to Heaven Antiques is expanding into Vinyl Chatter’s old space.
“We don’t have many empty spaces,” Craver said.
The Cellar is in the process of moving the restaurant from East Washington Street into the old Firestone building on Jefferson Street. Craver said he’s already gotten some interest from people looking to take over the old Cellar space.
And there is even interest in putting a restaurant in the old Chevron facility at Jackson and Madison, formerly occupied by SMF Cycles before it moved to Bullsboro Drive.
It hasn’t been all good news. Classic Café on Jackson Street closed a few weeks ago. “We were sad to see Classic Café go,” Craver said. On the bright side, “we see it as a great opportunity to introduce somebody to a ‘turn-key restaurant’ space."