Downtown Looking Up

Downtown Looking Up
MAKE IT SEW owner Accacia Mullen celebrates the new sign for her store. In 2019, Main Street Lexington offered over $2,000 to enable store owners to purchase new signs and awnings.

MAKE IT SEW owner Accacia Mullen celebrates the new sign for her store. In 2019, Main Street Lexington offered over $2,000 to enable store owners to purchase new signs and awnings.

BLUE SKY’S new owner, Beverly Drake (center), prepares a sandwich during a busy lunch hour with employees Stephanie Scott (right) and Lynn Alexander. Blue Sky reopened under Drake’s ownership just last week. (Katie Doar photo)

BLUE SKY’S new owner, Beverly Drake (center), prepares a sandwich during a busy lunch hour with employees Stephanie Scott (right) and Lynn Alexander. Blue Sky reopened under Drake’s ownership just last week. (Katie Doar photo)

MATTHEW & CO. Hair Salon owner Matthew Falls poses underneath the new sign for his hair salon on Main Street, purchased with funding from Main Street Lexington.

MATTHEW & CO. Hair Salon owner Matthew Falls poses underneath the new sign for his hair salon on Main Street, purchased with funding from Main Street Lexington.

THE LONG-AWAITED brewery Heliotrope opened in December. With assistance from Main Street Lexington, the business installed a new sign that displays its logo.

THE LONG-AWAITED brewery Heliotrope opened in December. With assistance from Main Street Lexington, the business installed a new sign that displays its logo.

After Busy 2019, More Business Changes Coming

As a new year – and new decade – starts, all of the downtown storefronts in Lexington are either full or under renovation.

That’s according to Rebecca Logan, the executive director of Main Street Lexington, who talked last week about the past year and looked ahead to 2020.

Only the former Republican headquarters on South Main Street can be classified as empty, but that space, Logan said, is not actually in the retail corridor.

Last year saw a number changes downtown. Lizzie’s of Lexington, Heliotrope, the Irish Barber, Matthew & Co. Hair Salon and J. McLaughlin all set up shop, while L’Orient and Center of Gravity Yoga moved to Main Street. Additionally, Washington Street Purveyor’s ownership changed from Chuck Smith to Kali McLeod, the Blue Phoenix closed, and Brenda and Mike Gregg put Blue Sky Bakery up for sale.

Residents can expect even more openings in the coming months and years, as some new businesses are developing, and some new developments will come into play for old businesses.

For example, Blue Sky customers, who tend to be loyal, will be interested to hear that the business was bought recently by Beverly Drake. Born in Buena Vista, Drake moved back home to run Blue Sky, and to be closer to family. The lunch spot officially reopened last Monday and, although nothing has changed yet, Drake confirmed the rumors that have set Blue Sky fans atwitter: eventually, she hopes to open the restaurant on Saturdays for brunch.

For now, though, she’s not planning on making any drastic changes.

“We’re gonna keep the same flavor, and pay homage to the shop that we bought,” Drake said. “I don’t want to put anybody in shock,” she added, laughing, “especially around here.”

The few alterations she does have planned involve an improvement in ingredients; she wants to serve food that’s in season, and work with localing, they decided to make good on the exercise by buying and renovating the building.

“We managed to talk ourselves into it,” Brown said. Once the renovation is done, they hope to rent the building to a business.

At this point, though, they’re not sure what type of business they will rent to — retail, restaurant, office space or other —because the building is in mighty need of renovations, and needs to be stripped down to a structural level before it can be rented, according to Brown. It will likely be 2021 before the building is renovated and a new business is installed.

The storefront that used to house Blue Phoenix will be turned into a restaurant run by Jessica Harden, who aims to open a breakfast and lunch spot there in March. Harden is originally from the New York and New Jersey area, and so she hopes to serve New York classics that aren’t currently available here, such as New York-style bagels and Italian deli sandwiches. Although she is departing from Blue Phoenix’s menu, Harden said that vegetarian options will still be available.

Chelsea Gardens, a garden and antique shop, will soon open its store on Washington Street, next to the former Blue Phoenix.

Main Street Lexington was also able to support business downtown recently by offering over $2,000 for improvements to signs or awnings to six businesses. Heliotrope, Make it Sew, Matthew & Co. Hair Salon and Lizzie’s of Lexington all got new signs, Pure Eats got some money to repair a sign that was damaged by the wind, and Blue Sky replaced its awning.