Due to joint efforts with the Young Professionals of Aiken, and the Downtown Development Authority, the city of Aiken now has more restaurants, job opportunities and new businesses than in the past six years combined.
In a recovering economy, small and corporate businesses are seeing Aiken, South Carolina as a hot spot. In fact, the downtown district has nearly 200 operating stores alone.
Carla Cloud Executive Director of Aiken's Downtown Development Authority says, “Now that includes service businesses such as insurance and attorneys, and those kinds of things. And as far as our retail, there is probably 100 or so.”
Additional stores are expected to move into South Aiken – including 'Which Which Sandwich Shop', a steak house, and a sports facility. The Fresh Market is the most recent business to open it's doors-employing more than 90 people.
Cloud says, “Four restaurants on the South side are preparing to open, you've got a big sporting goods store, you've got the Sam's Club. All of these are good for our economy. They bring in jobs, and it shows that there is faith in our community.”
Cloud says with more support from the community, the optimism is clear. There are more jobs, stores and opportunity in 2013. She says with joint efforts from council members and the Young professionals of Aiken, it's making their local economy roar beyond the streets of downtown.
“A lot of the people are very entrepreneur we have a bakery downtown who I know has actually shipped their goods to Atlanta. They've beat the streets and gotten themselves into other stores, not just their downtown store. So I think that entrepreneur spirit and small town commitment, it's a huge boost to our community,” says Cloud.
In a recovery economy, cloud says businesses old and new are willing to take a chance. Cloud adds, for every penny earned, she says it's a dollar that's put back into the community.
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