Pineville is undergoing a metamorphosis to renew its charm. Bill McConnell, secretary of Pineville Downtown Merchants Association, said he likes to call it “history meets hip.”
“Downtown Pineville is slowly blossoming into a well-rounded business district,” McConnell said.
“We are seeing more and more interest. Young people coming down here to sit down at the coffee shop and peruse retail stores. It’s fun to see these young families staying and exploring.”
There are six new businesses opening or moving in downtown storefronts. Those businesses are: Unwind Tea and Coffee; Fresh Start Transitions, home organization and estate sales; International Minute Press, printing company; Focal Point Chiropractic Health Center; Pintville, craft beer bar; and Global Restaurant, fine dining.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, businesses first opened in Pineville at the beginning of the 20th century. These brick-front properties have housed grocery stores, doctor’s offices, beauty and barbershops, a gun shop, antique stores, a post office, a bank and a theater. In recent years, Main Street had become home to a plethora of antique shops.
Town Manager Haynes Brigman said Pineville leaders are excited to see the redevelopment.
“While we enjoy and appreciate the businesses that have occupied downtown historically, we are excited for additional options … here in Pineville,” he said. “Our downtown is not very large, so in the limited storefronts we have, we want to see a diverse set of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences for all ages.”
Pintville owner Natasha Young said she’s always been drawn to starting businesses off the beaten path.
“I noticed a lot of businesses needed life in downtown Pineville,” she said. “I saw this beautiful little space and thought it would be perfect for my next business.”
Young said she has owned restaurants along Florida beaches and in Chicago. She opened Pintville in October.
Bernard Brunet, Global Restaurant chef and proprietor, said one of the reasons he decided to move his business from Ballantyne to downtown Pineville, after nine years on Toringdon Way off Johnston Road, is that he felt like he was coming home.
“It reminds me of where I am from, a province South of France,” he said. “It has good roots.”
Brunet said he expects to open at 314 Main St. by the end of the year.
Young and Brunet also cited Pineville’s small business-friendly atmosphere.
“Bill (McConnell) set up a meeting with city officials, everyone from the town manager to the planning department and parks and recreation got together and supported my efforts,” Young said.
Brunet said “Mayor Jack Edwards, this guy is so down to earth … The town is making great strides to preserve the affiliation with human beings and history.”
McConnell said the merchants association meets monthly, and regularly attends town council meetings, to discuss ways to improve downtown. The merchants association also manages the farmers market and annual Crops and Shops festival that brings hundreds of people to the area.
“We like the mom and pop shops and diverse mix of businesses, where people love what they do and are super knowledgeable about their products,” he said. “We try to work together for the greater success for all businesses.”
Brigman said Pineville officials have put up money to support downtown.
“I would estimate that over $400,000 has been invested in downtown since 2010, through road improvements, sidewalk improvements, railroad crossing improvements, removal of vacant buildings, financial support of the Cultural and Civic Arts Council and Downtown Merchants Association, as well as financial support for downtown programming,” he said. “The town had the vision and knew how to transform it and make it viable.
“We think that a vibrant downtown can offer a lot of benefits to our local residents. We also understand the history and tradition of Pineville as a mill village and have taken action such as zoning restrictions and zoning overlay districts to ensure any new business or development fits in with the small-town character that makes Pineville so great.”
Crystal O’Gorman is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.