Downtown Success In Salisbury

They've baffled the experts in downtown Salisbury...twenty years ago when the mall opened, some said that would doom the downtown, but if anything, downtown has thrived while lately the Salisbury Mall has struggled.  WBTV's David Whisenant On Your Side tonight with the story and some of the secret's of the downtown success.

Look at the sidewalks, full of shoppers, and new stores are opening...developers from downtowns across the country come here just to see what's happening.  Randy Hemann of Downtown Salisbury, Inc., says:   "I can tell you right now we've got three planned over the next month, it happens, frequently, I'm happy to say we are the poster child for downtown redevelopment."

Downtown Salisbury's Randy Hemann points to several things like going against the experts who said people would not want to live downtown, "We've got 125 units now downtown, more coming online," says Hemann.

The Plaza is full of apartments and this building will be commercial and residential.  Other things that have worked are promotions like the one going on today, and sidewalk dining which just this week was expanded by the city council.   And the emphasis on history is also an attraction.   Jennifer Lanier, of retailer The Thread Shed says,  "It's very historic, this building is from 1829."

At the mall, a different story...a major clothing chain and a popular restaurant just closed, though the restaurant promises to reopen.  A new owner renovated portions of the mall but some merchants are struggling.

But downtown things are looking up and merchants hope to keep it going even during what many consider to be hard economic times.

Lots of sales promotions where stores stay open late and an active arts community with a downtown theater has also contributed to the city's success in drawing people downtown.