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Downtown Columbia's Main Street experiences revival with business expansions, new ventures

Downtown Columbia's Main Street experiences a dynamic transformation with multiple businesses expanding or establishing a presence.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Main Street in downtown Columbia is undergoing a significant transformation as several businesses expand and establish themselves, bringing renewed energy to the area.

Close to a dozen businesses in the Columbia area are expanding, and setting up shop on Main Street downtown.

Columbia resident Ted Strother said he spent his Sunday out walking through downtown, where he's seen buildings under construction and boarded-up renovation projects.

"It feels like it's starting to get that capital city downtown vibe," he explains. "They've been working on some buildings for awhile, but I understand you have to - it takes time. But once it's done, I mean, it looks nice."

It's the same for Carolina Bermejo who works in the Main Street District and said construction is a regular sight.

"I have noticed it," she said. "The only thing is I don't know what's coming to most of them."

According to Kelsey Bickley with the Main Street District, the area is experiencing a continued wave of change, with new businesses coming and existing businesses expanding.

"Habani Habachi just opened, in the back of the building where The Venue is, Icon on Taylor just opened, which is a boutique," she said. "The Robinson Room has just moved from being in the basement of The Grand to having its own space." 

"We've got some renovations going on at Drake's Duck-In and above Drake's Duck-In is going to be Flutter Wing, which is an expansion to Hotel Trundle," Bickley added.

She also said two new restaurants are setting up shop next to Cantina 76. She said adding more businesses is an ongoing goal, focusing on increasing the number of people there first.

"More residential development is what we're looking for right now," she said. "We need more density within the Main Street District and surrounding districts so that we get more people here - more pedestrian traffic - and the retail and restaurants will follow that residential development."

The changes are making some residents excited. Brishauna Williams lives in Columbia and said she's hopeful new shops, not just restaurants, will start coming to the area.

"Probably some more boutiques or stuff like that," she said. "I like to shop too so that would be nice."

Bermejo said she hopes the expansions continue.

"I think that whole Main area brings a lot of life to the city outside of the university," she said. "It's got a lot of different atmospheres for everybody, whatever they're looking for."

"I think the more that they can promote this, the better," she added.

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