Downtown Business Update

By: Rayne McKenzie Email
By: Rayne McKenzie Email

In the past year three downtown businesses have closed, but that isn't stopping several entrepreneurs from trying their luck in the restaurant business in the heart of town.

Less than a week ago Bistro opened its doors. The owner of the restaurant says so far business has been steady.

And after speaking with downtown restaurant owners, the major obstacle doesn't seem to be lack of customers, but rather lack of space to expand.

New Businesses continue to move into downtown Dothan. In the last year three businesses have closed, but two have opened their doors. Bistro is one of those restaurants and so far owners say business is booming.

Paul Fripp, Owner of the new downtown business Bistro said, "It's been fantastic, we've had great response and overwhelmed there is really standing room only."

Fripp feels confident his bistro will continue to prosper, because of his foresight to expand the restaurant’s seating area.

Fripp said, "The expanded patio is great and we have great food that everyone loves."

Lack of seating for customers has been a problem in the past for new eateries.

Executive Director of The Downtown Group Cathy Cole said, "There are challenges to coming downtown like space and Bistro has doubled the seating to accommodate customers."

River Nile Bistro served food downtown for five years and just a year and a half ago moved uptown to expand. Since the move business has grown substantially.

Owner of River Nile Bistro Katie Hart said, "Business has been good. We have triple the business than downtown mainly cause there's more space."

The Downtown Group says several chefs have made inquiries about relocating to downtown Dothan and they say they will make every effort to accommodate new businesses interested in moving into the area.

The downtown group says they will announce the names of some new businesses coming to the area in the coming months.

One of those will be an independent flower vendor. A national consultant will present his plan for downtown May 7. That plan will include ways to improve the look of downtown to encourage more growth in the area.


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