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Gaining momentum: Downtown Saltillo business activity picks up

 

SALTILLO – Late last year, Danny Brown finally got the opportunity to buy the three buildings he had been renting for 13 years, plus another building he had long wanted.

 

Those purchases enabled Brown to move his business, DB’s Floral Designs & More, double his space and expand his offerings to customers.

 

“It’s going really well,” he said of the move. “We purchased the building at the end of December and we’ve been working on renovating it and we’ve been able to move into it ... we’re looking forward to the next few weeks with Christmas and other stuff going on. We’ve got a lot of new things going on in 2017.”

 

Brown has seen his business flourish over the years, even though there have been times when he had only a handful of neighbors on this sometimes lonely stretch of Mobile Street in downtown Saltillo.

 

But in the past year, momentum has been building.

 

In December, the ownership of eight buildings in downtown Saltillo switched hands, as long-time absentee owner Bob Weinberg from Cleveland, Ohio, sold the four buildings on the north side of Mobile Street to Brown. Four other buildings across the street, including one set up as a restaurant, were donated to the city of Saltillo.

 

The building Brown moved into was built in 1910, and he had long eyed it.

 

“I always wanted it, but for years I didn’t ever think I’d move into it,” he said. “Everybody said, ‘you need to move into it,’ and I said ‘no.’ But the good lord worked things out and I was able to purchase it.”

 

The other three buildings Brown owned were then made available for lease. His wife, Karma, opened The Wash Tub, an antiques/handcrafted mall in the old DB’s spot.

 

Also, Tammy King is moving her Barnyard Boutique from the Town Creek area to downtown, and Kevin Doyle is relocating Fuel Cycles from Tupelo.

“Instead of renting, I was looking for a place to buy,” Doyle said in December. “I have heard good things about Saltillo and love the location.”

 

“I’m very excited about what’s going on,” Brown said. “In the 13 years, I’ve seen a lot of things come and go and I’ve seen a lot of buildings sit empty. But now that I’ve been able to buy my side of the street and the city has sold some of their stuff, we’re able to do a lot of new things. Hopefully, by the end of the year, everything will be full of something versus what we’ve seen in the past.”

 

COFFEE & DESSERT

 

Jason and Brandy Wilson can relate to Brown’s feelings about downtown Saltillo. They, too, see a wave of new interest in the heart of the city.

 

The Wilsons opened Iron Clad Tattoo Gallery in 2011 and moved last year from Mobile Street around the corner into a new space on Second Street. That move was precipitated by their purchase of the old Jones Hardware building. Part of it has been transformed into an event center, where parties, meetings and receptions can be held. An adjacent space will be the home of a coffee shop.

 

“We’ll have coffee and desserts, but it’s a much longer process than I expected it would be,” Brandy said. “I wish we had opened the cafe first and then the event hall, but it’s a work in progress. I’m in here every day working, so once we get the OK with the plans, we’ll be ready to build out. We’re still hoping to be open by the end of the year.”

 

The event hall has been home to a few weddings and receptions, along with other gatherings – exactly what the Wilsons had anticipated.

 

“The event hall is doing great; we love the way the public has responded because there definitely was a need for it,” Brandy said.

 

She, too, appreciates the resurgence in downtown Saltillo.

 

“It took a lot of convincing for people to see our vision, and a year and half later, it feels great to see other people seeing the potential, too,” she said. “You can feel the momentum. I’m excited. Every time a building is bought, I get that much more excited.”

 

Saltillo Main Street Director Lindsey Hines said the combination of Brown’s purchase of his four buildings and the gifting of the buildings to the city was the shot in the arm that was needed to revive the area.

 

“That was huge,” she said. “In the grand scheme of things, a coat of paint isn’t that big, but you have to start somewhere and that’s kind of what happened. I feel like we just needed the first few people to take that step, doing a little work on the outside, a little work on the inside, and then it becomes a domino effect.

 

“People are excited and see opportunity.”

 

The city also is building a parking lot behind the buildings it owns, in anticipation of the increased traffic that will be coming through to do business downtown.


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