Downtown Douglas growing by leaps and bounds - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Downtown Douglas growing by leaps and bounds

July 30, 2004

Douglas-- Leaders in one south Georgia city say they're working hard to make their town an attractive place for small businesses and they're work is paying off. The sign of progress can be seen and heard all over downtown Douglas.

In one spot in downtown workers are clearing the way for a bigger location for one of the city's oldest drug stores.

And just a few blockes away shoppers are enjoying browsing the aisles of the Atrium Marketplace, the first business to open in The Atrium, an incubator for small businesses.

"Not only do I like coming for the unique things I also like to socialize," says shopper Sonya Porter.

An atmosphere Porter is glad she no long has to travel miles outside of town to get. The  convience for shoppers is translating to success for small business owners.

"Business is very good and we have been open not quite two months," says Jill Cravey owner of the Atrium Marketplace.

New small business flooding into Douglas are making downtown their home. Last year more than 27 of them located here. It's a trend city leaders says has a lot to do with the community.

"Douglas is a great place to do business, the community rallies behind people and their new ventures and existing ventures. We have some businesses that have been in existence for more than 30 years," says Niki Knox Main Street Manager for the city of Douglas.

And now with the 2 million dollar business incubator building complete the hope is the new space combined with the excitement downtown will attract even more business.

"We have really been geared up for the last couple of years to make sure we are encouraging new growth of small business. The  Chamber of Commerce has started and entrepreneurs. committe,"says Niki Knox.

Knox's hope steps the city takes now will spark more people to get into business and help make a name for this South Georgia town.

 In Coffee County small businesses created more than 600 jobs over last two years.

posted at 6:35PM by scott.hunter@walb.com