Augusta leaders try to keep downtown businesses open, they see a bright future

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The downtown area has struggled since the beginning of the pandemic. Some businesses are indefinitely closing, but others are planning to open.

Augusta leaders are doing what they can to keep them in business.

Yesterday, commission talked about extending payment plans and reducing business fees and licensing fees.

They voted to reduce business license ad min fees by 15% for two years. The due date for these licenses is July 1st. And, they are allowing liquor licenses to be paid quarterly.

The Development Authority says to look out for new business models as new places open, and some have already opened.

Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority, Margaret Woodard, says, “two restaurants that have opened up in the last 30 days, La Ziza Mediterranean, and a soul food restaurant on 8th street. It’s a Caribbean restaurant. We got Taco Cat and Grantski Records that are expected to open the first quarter.”

We have seen are businesses getting creative, and creativity is key.

Some businesses have shut their doors in March and don’t plan on reopening because they’ve seen better business with their new model. Others have found new products.

Some businesses like, American Journeyman, may have closed their brick and mortar, but they have a huge online presence.

“You look at David at Second City who decided to make the hand sanitizer instead of distilling bourbon, and he’s done very well. Cassandra Brinson at Cafe 209 is just operating a food truck and doing curbside pick up only, and she’s doing well. And small businesses quickly got an online presence,” says Woodard.

As the holidays come around, every penny counts. You can continue to order curbside, order online, or order some gift cards.

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