LONDON, Ky. (LEX 18) – The heart of downtown London is adorned with mounds of colorful flowers and thriving with new businesses opening around every corner.
Main Street is where people go to hang out in London.
“We feel like better friendships are formed when you meet on Main,” said Phil Smith, owner of Local Honey.
Local honey open in February and serves “trendy eclectic comfort food” inside what was once a picture frame store at 300 N Main St.
Smith said the location was ideal for several reasons, but one of the most important being their passion for creating a downtown area that their community can be proud of.
“For me, the main street of any city is always the heart and soul of the community,” he said. “We feel like this is where most people go.”
London city center is a non-profit organization focused on the economic growth of the district.
In recent years, the organization has put its energy into investing in local businesses in order to create a territory where events are frequent and business flourishes.
“When you see a vibrant and vibrant downtown, you can tell the community is alive and caring. For me, it’s a place I want to be, ”said Julie Rae, Executive Director of London Downtown. “We want it to be a place where people can come and enjoy. “
Their efforts have made a visible difference.
For several years, many showcases remained empty.
“Now we don’t have enough buildings to house these people,” Rae said.
Rae said even the coronavirus hadn’t slowed them down. No business closed permanently due to the pandemic.
The region’s success caught the eye of London-born Chloe Hopkins, who hosted her own grand opening in May.
“It’s the perfect place,” she said.
She owns The bluegrass baker where she sells all kinds of candy including macaroons, cakes, cupcakes and her grandmother’s famous chocolate chip cookies.
“People love them. They come and buy them by the dozen, ”Hopkins said.
Hopkins said she plans to open the bakery in Louisville, where she worked at the time, but her heart is in her hometown.
Seeing the booming downtown district finally convinced her to return home.
“I’m really excited to bring something new to London that wasn’t here before,” she said. “We had people from all over to try our treats.”
“That’s what you want. You don’t want an empty downtown. You want people who are excited to come in,” Rae said.
Rae said that the more enthusiastic local business owners are about being downtown, the more excited people are to go. And London can only continue to grow from there.