Business leaders optimistic about renewed interest in North Main Street
The North Columbia Business Association is banking on new interest in the North Main Street corridor to attract businesses and bring economic development to a once blighted community.
“Small businesses employ the majority of the citizens in this country and in this state,” said association Vice Chairman Donald Gist.
The 91-member business organization kicked off National Small Business Week on Monday at the Trestle Building on North Main Street.
Elected leaders think construction at the multimillion-dollar Columbia Commons mixed-used development and the addition of a baseball stadium at Bull Street will be the catalyst to drive business farther down North Main Street.
“This is the next frontier for development in this great capital city,” said Columbia City Councilman Sam Davis.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said the large number of vacant lots on North Main Street can be filled by incentivizing small businesses, which would create jobs in the community.
“The best social program that we can have in this city is a job,” he said. “Helping people earn their own keep.”
Local business owner Don Miller of Super Starr Pets in Forest Acres is looking to expand his 17-year business to the North Columbia area and leverage the resources of the North Columbia Business Association and the city to attract his customers from the surrounding neighborhoods and build relationships.
“The North Columbia Business Association is not just in an organization that’s about business, but its an advocate as a voice for people and their business,” Miller said.
Association Executive Director Sabrina Odom said the organization would work on improving codes to benefit businesses, develop a tourist attraction that would coincide with the Bull Street development and premiere a documentary about the ups and downs of being a business owner in the North Main Street corridor.
The NCBA is hosting a number of events this week at their office at 1013 Duke Ave. in celebration of National Small Business Week. The organization is offering workshops on marketing, avoiding small business scams and becoming a great business. More information can be found at the association’s website.