Downtown Moultrie booming with new business - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Downtown Moultrie booming with new business

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MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) -

Downtown Moultrie is known as the "Antique Capital of South Georgia." But the historic buildings house more than small stores, the downtown area is booming with new businesses. And it's giving the entire community a lift.

Carrie Viohl is a familiar face at Moultrie's newest restaurant, The Square. She helped her husband open the family business in November.

"One of the best ways to bring people to a city is a great restaurant and my brother happens to be an amazing cook. So when the chance arose for us to buy this beautiful building we went ahead and scooped it up. It took us about a year to renovate it so this was a long time coming."

Just a few doors down construction is underway, transforming the old Friedlanders building into the city's first event center.

Randy Bannister is the brains behind the operation, who is also expanding his current restaurant, Blue Sky Grill, which he opened 12 years ago.

"When you come down and see these old, vacant buildings, it's kind of an eyesore for downtown Moultrie. And we need these buildings full, we need them renovated, we need them looking good and that's what people love and appreciate about these historic towns like this," explained Bannister.

And other business owners welcome the growth with open arms.

"As new business have opened, there's been a renewed interest in doing business with your neighbors and doing business with people that live in this town," said Eric Foster-Whiddon, owner of Beans and Strings.

"Since we've been open only a few months we've already seen several other businesses open around us. And a lot of them are owned by young, exciting business owners. So for a lot of people this is their very first business they're opening down here and they're taking a huge leap of faith, just like we took a huge leap of faith," said Viohl.

A leap of faith that's helping downtown Moultrie become the centerpiece of their community.

City leaders say over the last 14 years close to $10 million has been spent in the downtown area, including renovations. 

A historic building downtown is currently being turned into loft apartments. The building was going to be demolished before the property was bought.

Moultrie was established as a Main Street city in 1989, which helps small businesses through incentive programs.

 

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