Even in challenging economic times, some people are deciding to open new business ventures in Roswell.
In the downtown business district alone, a few new businesses have started, taking over the properties that others had to leave behind when coronarvirus-related business shutdowns prompted them to close their doors, at least temporarily.
About six downtown businesses have closed in the past few months, said Kathy Lay, the executive director of MainStreet Roswell.
“Within just a matter of probably less than a month, we have already seen four of those properties have new businesses step up to open a business in those locations, so that is very encouraging for us,” she said.
She added that she has posted about two other available properties and received six inquiries.
“It is very difficult, but, at the same time, entrepreneurs who have ideas about how to adapt and how to shift as times change and as circumstances change … they will find success in business.”
In addition to startups, the downtown area is seeing the influx of some established businesses that are relocating, including Man on the Moon Printing, the White Mattress Store and Gallery Indian Crafts.
One of the startups is the Farmhouse on Second, a gift boutique at East Second Street and Virginia Avenue. It just opened to customers June 3. The large windmill blades affixed to the east side of the building are a noticeable announcement of something new in the area.
Owner Kathleen Turner Garcia and her daughter, Abbi Curtis, are running the shop, which offers home décor items such as hand-painted signs with inspirational quotes, pillows, candles, ornaments, and farm-themed plates and cups. There’s even some jewelry and apparel, and they have plans to carry a line of baby clothes. The store also will have a website, www.farmhouseonsecond.com.
“We know farmhouse isn’t everybody’s style, but we really love it,” Garcia said. “And we have a little bit of everything to cater to everybody’s needs and wants.”
Garcia is also a mortgage loan officer with Gold Financial Services. She said that she had wanted for many years to open a boutique that would evoke the simple charm of country life, similar to what she had experienced growing up on a farm. The dream began to take shape about a year ago when the East Second Street property came up for sale.
She hired a contractor who could help her rehabilitate the 1800s building, which had been used for storage for many years. She said the contractor was able to make it structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. Between the two of them, they came up with such ideas as taking a blow-torch to new beams to make them look aged, placing tin on the ceiling and using the flooring from a barn for wall panels.
The original plan was to open in November, but construction took longer than expected. The site was ready to open April 1, but the pandemic and business closures came in mid-March.
Open only a week, business has been good based on word-of-mouth and social media, she said.
“It seems like everyone is excited about us opening, and we have had a steady flow of people since we opened,” Garcia said. She added that she is planning a fall grand opening and a Christmas bazaar.
The people behind another startup, Eclectic Treasurez, which has opened at 207 N. Main St., are also new Roswell residents.
Sean Lamore has been selling polished and shaped minerals, rocks and crystals for about 12 years, and he was joined by Mary Scheidell about three years ago.
This is their first brick-and-mortar store. They also sell online (www.rocksnherbs.com), and previously traveled to various shows and events.
A snow storm originally brought them to Roswell. The bad weather in December 2018 caused them to change their route and pass through Roswell. At that time, they couldn’t stay but thought the city had a quality they liked. So they visited again for a couple of days in March 2019 and decided to open a store here.
In February, Scheidell found a retail space on West Second Street, but they never opened it because of the state-ordered business closures. When the Main Street location became available, they relocated and opened their doors Tuesday afternoon.
“We carry rocks. We also have herbs and a little more of the metaphysical, working on the energy side of the stones,” Scheidell said.
They also carry jewelry and some tapestries.
“So far, the people who have wandered in are very nice,” she said.
She and Lamore added that they already have seen some visitors from Texas and Illinois and are looking forward to when tourism in the area picks back up.
Many blocks north, a new fast-food franchise location, Wingstop, is being started by the Vibe Restaurant Group based in Dallas, Texas.
The company owns the two Little Caesar’s pizza restaurants in Roswell, as well as about 78 Little Caesar’s in eight other states.
Director of Operations Troy Hackmeister said Wingstop, a Garland, Texas-based international chain started in 1994, is known for its variety of flavors for both its wings and fries. He said the local store should employ about 40 people.
Director of Marketing Kent Chapin said this is Vibe’s first Wingstop, although future locations are planned for Kansas and Oklahoma.
The Roswell location is scheduled to open June 24, but will offer only take-out and delivery to begin with during its seven-day-a-week service.
“We will wait to get the go-ahead from the brand about the dine-in service,” Chapin said. He isn’t sure when the dining area will open, explaining that the franchiser is waiting until it is certain that the inside dining option is safe.
Chapin said Roswell was chosen because of how well the Little Caesar’s restaurants are doing and because they wanted to give locals the “gift of wings.”
The new restaurant is located in Suite E of the newly renovated Landing Site Plaza at 2901 N. Main St.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at email@example.com.