Women lead in D'town business ownership

Expressations owner Lanicia Hart. / Jessica Fairley

Business in downtown Albany is picking up and local officials say it's the women who are taking over and calling the shots.

Albany City manager Aaron Blair says 70 percent of the businesses opened since January 2001 in downtown Albany are owned by women.

To add to that, he says all of the businesses on Washington Avenue are ran by females.

"It's exciting, it's challenging because you know most people assume that business owners are male," said Expressations CEO and Owner Lanicia Hart.

Before starting her business, Hart says she looked for places that would draw attention from people of all backgrounds.

"I really wanted to be where everything starts and where a lot of people would love to come back and visit," said Lanicia Hart.

Other business owners agree.

"We were actually encouraged by other people saying downtown was coming back and we wanted to be a part of it," said Gabe Clothing Store Co-Owner Gwendolyn Ridley Davis.

Some believed her decision to move downtown was a bad idea but she and her business partner, Gail Morrill, took a chance.

"We were two ladies in the social security stage and we prayed about it and the Lord just told us what to go forth and do. We came in and found this place and boom," said Gabe Clothing Store Co-Owner Gail Morrill.

They both joined the success of others who took a similar path by heading downtown.

Restaurants, clothing stores, hair salons and others businesses in the area are all owned by women seeking to revitalize the community and bring back what some thought was lost.

The business owners say things are a little slow after 5:00 p.m., however they're anticipating seeing downtown Albany grow as it goes through a developmental phase.

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