WSAZ | Charleston, West Virginia | News

A Push to Turn Downtown Business Around

By: Carrie Jones Email
By: Carrie Jones Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Ask anyone who grew up in Charleston and they'll tell you that the shopping downtown isn't what it used to be.

"Everything here used to be retail and now you have to have a certain niche to be retail," Mayor Danny Jones said.

As a kid, Jones remembered seeing everything from high class department stores to record shops and even burger joints along Capitol Street.

He says the way people shop and where they do it have changed.

"People have to make up their mind to get in their car and come down here and eat at your restaurant or go shop at your place," Jones said. "It's a challenge."

While it may be a challenge, many businesses have found success. The Peanut Shop has been up and running along Capitol Street for nearly 60 years. Just down the street, Taylor Books also has become a downtown fixture.

Ann Saville says she took a big risk when she decided to open the book store 15 years ago.

She believes that it will take some fresh ideas and risk taking entrepreneurs to attract more small shops to the downtown area.

"If you keep hoping for retail, you can't keep offering them $5,000 spaces because no one can afford it," Saville said. "You've got to have small shops for them to open a retail place in."

Business owners on Capitol Street are excited that a new restaurant is opening up on their block. Pies & Pints is expected to open in August. The gourmet pizza and beer joint already has a growing fan base in Fayetteville, W.Va.


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