Danville’s Main Street – and beyond – is thriving.
With more than 100 downtown renovation projects under its belt, a dynamic economic revitalization agenda and a burgeoning new retail and restaurant cluster on South Fourth Street, Danville continues to evolve as one of the region’s go-to destinations.
Thanks to smart planning, the city has taken advantage of its historic buildings and quaint downtown to create an economically thriving center that vigorously supports existing businesses and attracts the retail, restaurant and service businesses the public wants.
“We worked hard to expand sales of alcohol in 2010, and since then we have seen a flourishing of smaller, independent restaurants and venues in the downtown business district,â€ says Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership. “In addition to providing food services, for example, restaurants are able now to host special events and many of them have live music.”
Downtown promotion has been a major focus of Heart of Danville, the city’s 28-year-old Main Street revitalization program. The organization enthusiastically markets Danville businesses, garnering both local and regional attention that in turn supports economic development. Danville’s annual calendar of popular festivals and special events also contributes to economic growth, from the Great American Brass Band Festival in June, which brought 40,000 people downtown, to Oktoberfest and Christmas festivities.
“Our goal is to connect the dots,â€ Lassiter says. “We want to improve options for local people, and also bring people in for events. When they are here for an event, they’ll have a great lunch or dinner, or a libation at one of our breweries, or go shopping. You have to connect all these to really succeed.”
Recently, a particular bright spot has been the area along South Fourth Street, known as SoFo, which is “breaking out on its own,â€ Lassiter says.
New businesses are enjoying great success, joining established concerns and creating a new energy for the area. Jane Barleycorn’s Market and Bar offers a staggering assortment of fine bourbons and other spirits, beer, wine, cheese and chocolate – in addition to special events and live music. Nearby Taqueria Los Amigos‘ authentic Mexican cuisine has already built a large, loyal following.
Area retail stores include Muddy Creek Primitives, which specializes in handmade folk art and also hosts pottery painting events. And Vestiary’s cool, modern interior is a flattering backdrop for its contemporary ladies’ wear.
“Our location has been great – it even surprised me,â€ says Cassie Baeker, who opened Vestiary (“a room full of clothesâ€) in summer 2014. “I really like how if you come to South Fourth you can kind of get everything covered – you can have lunch or dinner at the Mexican restaurant, go shopping and then stop and have a drink at Barleycorn’s. And as more people get out and come down, it will only get better.”