Three new businesses opening soon in downtown Albany

After announcements about new lofts and the possible Oglethorpe Crossing shopping plaza, the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority says three new businesses are slotted to open in downtown Albany before Mardi Gras.

"They're really going to set the tone for what we're looking for in downtown as far as raising the bar for the type of business the type of business model the type of space buildup that we're looking for," says Downtown Manager Aaron Blair.

Verge, an upscale consignment shop featuring clothes and furniture, will open at 110 N. Washington Street, formerly the Churchwell's location. Verge will also feature a coffee shop in the back which will open into a back alley seating area.

At 106 N. Washington will be a fresh market, an organic food supermarket.

The Downtown General Store is set to open the week of Feb. 7 at in the former Economy Drugs spot at 104 N. Washington, and its operator is no stranger to downtown business.

"It's going to be a general store slash antique store and in the back we're going to have the old soda jerk fountain where you can get hot dogs and your root beer floats," says B.J. Fletcher, an ADICA board member and also Co-owner of Cafà 230.

The store will feature an old-fashioned soda jerk, ice cream stand and hot dog stand operated by Albany City Commissioner Christopher Pike.

Fletcher says the Downtown General Store will serve the needs of downtown residents once they move there.

"We're going to have living quarters up and down Washington, up and down Broad: You're going to be able to come and get your milk, you're lettuce, tomato, your bread," she says.

ADICA board members say they do not want the same shops you would find at a mall; they say they're looking to highlight unique and local businesses. Blair says he wants to bring people in from surrounding towns to visit venues that are different.

Visitors may have plenty to choose from in the near future: Asst. to the Downtown Manager Monique Broughton says ADICA members have been acting like realtors recently.

"We actually have a lot of people who are coming downtown and just looking for a space. we're trying to put them in where we think they will be successful, where their business will be successful, where their budget will work for them to be successful," says Blair.

ADICA is hoping new monthly nightlife events will be successful as well. The board is looking to block of portions of the streets downtown to host music, outdoor seating and food the third Friday of every month.

"This event is more for the adults, and singles, young professionals so all those people have something to do Friday night that's fun and safe," says Broughton.

The events will showcase local merchants as the vendors, which will hopefully encourage businesses to stay open late.

"We're going to commit to opening up at night when people start living down here," says Fletcher.

Fletcher is currently accepting antiques to be sold in the Downtown General Store.

Owners of Verge Sara Edmonds and Jessica Blair are also looking for gently-used, high quality clothing; they can be reached at (229) 438-2121.

What do you think of the new businesses coming downtown? Do you think they will be successful?