Greensboro business owners react to State Street social district

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The point of a social district is to bring people and money to an area.

In the past 24-hours, Greensboro City Council members shot down an expansion in downtown, which would’ve included Center City Park and the Tanger Center. Part of their reasoning was there aren’t any retail shops in that area.

It didn’t stop them from creating one with virtually no retail two miles away. The sidewalks on State Street have been pretty empty the past several years.

Longtime business owners remember when the area was a destination. They’re hoping the social district will bring life back to the street.

Silence is what people hear more often than not on State Street. The area has lost some of its vibe.

“It’s kind of lost its place on the map within the last ten years,” said Tyler Miller, a co-owner of State Street Wine Company.

Businesses have left. Outside of a few restaurants, retail stores and a bar, there’s not much to get the area on people’s radars again.

“We look forward to people that pass by State Street all the time and realize it’s here…it’s a lot of exciting things constantly going on,” said Ray Essa, who owns Cafe Pasta and Grill.

This spring, visitors will be able to sip and stroll along a stretch of State Street. It’s the same social district concept Downtown Greensboro has. People can carry their drinks in a special cup and take them into participating businesses.

It’s a new trend city leaders hope will bring new faces and people who want to fill empty spaces with their stores.

“I’m excited for the opportunities it’s going to propose, and we’re happy to have it,” Miller said.

Owners see how the social district in Downtown Greensboro boosts business. They’re hoping for the same on their street.

“It just kind of lets people explore more, look at other shops that they otherwise wouldn’t just being stuck in a singular place,” Miller said.

The social district on State Street will begin April 1 as the weather warms up enough for people come out and enjoy all the area has to offer with a drink in hand.

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