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Gervais Street seeing new businesses, growth

Columbia City Council hopes this new life brings more people to the area.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Growth and development along Gervais Street continues, with several new businesses already here or coming to the area. 

The City of Columbia hopes this growth will attract more people to the area and to the Vista.

Java Juice is the newest juice bar to hit Gervais Street. Located at the corner of Gervais and Huger streets, owner Carlos Dawkins says his passion, which started as a blender under a tent, now has a storefront.

"The Columbia area has been lacking a good organic, juice spot that is authentic and flavorful," said Dawkins.

Dawkins went on to say he choose the area because of its popularity. "We have students, this is a college town, we have businesses, so I knew it was going to be downtown ... so I jumped on it."

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City Councilman Ed McDowell says the economic development along Gervais is critical to the growth of the city. "You've got several businesses down Gervais of course that gives that kind of character," said McDowell.

McDowell says Gervais Street is one of the busiest areas downtown. "It's a main corridor," he says. "To expand ourselves in ways that increase the importance of our city and expanding that environment increases the quote unquote revenue."

McDowell says new businesses include Boku Restaurant, Harlem's Closet and Java Juice Cafe. He says Bourbon is also expanding, and new apartments are being constructed above Smoked on Main Street, with more apartments at 1813 Main Street. 

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Addie Moultrie is a face the community has known for more than two decades. The Moultrie family opened Palmetto Seafood in 1997.

"It has been such a marvelous experience for me and my family," said Moultrie.

Moultrie, now the owner, says she remembers all the businesses that have come and gone along Gervais Street. 

"I've had some highs and some lows. I have seen some changes, changes that were good for the community, but I just feel privileged and honored to be able that I can say I have been here this long."

"Gervais Street is a good place to be," she said. She believes more is yet to come to Gervais. "I am sure more growth is on the way."

Moultrie's advice to new business owners? "Just be patient. Be patient, just like we did with our business. Put your whole heart and soul into your business, and make that your first priority, and things will happen."

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