Houston's Lowcountry Grill
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - When Houston's Lowcountry Grill closed their doors for good last week, it was a shock to the North Columbia Business Association. But while some may consider it a blow to the revitalization of North Main Street, the NCBA says they're just getting started.
"There was a lot of commercial businesses when I first came here and lot of them have kind of either moved out or sold or retired. It would be nice to have some more," explains Mark Sills. He's owned Angelo's Zest on North Main since 1990.
His wish is the mission of the NCBA, according to Executive Director Sabrina Odom, "To help with finding the niche for the Eau Claire/Columbia area, to work closely with zoning and to work closely with business owners so that when businesses do come in here, they can sustain and stay here."
Says Board President Tommy Burkett of Houston's closing, "It wasn't only a disappointment, it was a shocker also. The problem with a restaurant like Houston's, and North Main Deli when it was there, you don't have the walk-in traffic that is needed to support a restaurant like that."
Burkett believes that will soon change though. "You're seeing a lot of young people, a lot of business people and a lot of students move back into this area. And so that's going to incorporate a lot of businesses into this area."
For Odom, it's only a matter of time. "We're in a growing stage and we've got to find our niche and find out what works in this area. But we do not want anyone to give up on North Columbia."
And Sills will be here, just as he always has, hoping for some great new neighbors. "I think like a hardware store, something that's practical," he says.
Burkett says they have spoken with several businesses that might be interested in moving or starting up in the North Columbia area. He predicts that in 5 to 7 years, it will just as vibrant as Columbia's Five Points or Vista areas.