‘New dynamism to downtown’: Salisbury social district debuts Friday

By Ben Stansell

Map of the new downtown social district. Graphic by Andy Mooney, Salisbury Post.

SALISBURY — After months of discussion and preparation, Downtown Salisbury’s new social district will start on Friday.

The district will allow consumers to purchase alcoholic beverages from state-licensed businesses and restaurants and walk around a designated area downtown. Drinks must be carried in specially-marked cups. 

“We are optimistic about the impact of the (district) on downtown businesses and the community in general,” said Sada Stewart Troutman, director of Downtown Salisbury Inc. “As other communities who have implemented a social district have seen, we hope this is an opportunity to bring new dynamism to downtown.

The boundaries of the social district, which generally include several city blocks around the heart of downtown, will be marked with signs. A boundary map also is available on the Downtown Salisbury website, and accessed via the QR code on all social district signs. Drinks must be consumed within the social district and before entering any vehicle.

Bell Tower Green is included in the social district, but the park does play by slightly different rules. Visitors may stroll within the district Monday through Sunday between noon and midnight but within Bell Tower Green park on Monday through Sunday, as follows:

• Nov. 1 through March 1: between 5 p.m. and park closing

• March 2 through Oct. 31: between 6 p.m. and park closing

City staff has installed social district boundary signs in downtown. The social district will allow consumers to walk around certain parts of downtown with special-marked cups containing alcoholic beverages.

Picture of Social District Sign
City staff has installed social district boundary signs in downtown. The social district will allow consumers to walk around certain parts of downtown with special-marked cups containing alcoholic beverages. Ben Stansell/Salisbury Post

Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed or sold during and within the boundary of a public street festival, during a special event sponsored by the City of Salisbury, or within the boundary of Bell Tower Green park when the event is permitted and held per city ordinance. This does not prohibit the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within Bell Tower Green park pursuant to a properly licensed and permitted event.

Downtown Salisbury Inc. has been leading the push to create the district since the state legislature last year passed a bill allowing for the districts in an effort to bring business back downtown after the COVID-19 pandemic. Kannapolis was quick to establish a social district of its own in the fall and other towns and cities have followed suit.

Stewart Troutman said the organization is “thrilled that Downtown Salisbury is able to have a social district, and see this as a privilege that will enhance the experience of our downtown for residents, visitors and business owners.”

The Salisbury City Council endorsed the district after Downtown Salisbury Inc. held several public input and education sessions with stakeholders and Salisbury residents.

“With the preparation we have done, we expect the (social district) to be a positive environment for all participants, and thank everyone in advance for working with Downtown Salisbury as we get this off the ground,” Stewart Troutman said.

There are 12 business currently signed on to participate in the district, including La Cava, Carpe Vinum 121, New Sarum Brewing, Sweet Meadow Cafe, Go Burrito, Salty Caper, Shug’s, Shuckin’ Shack, City Tavern, Bangkok Downtown, The Fish Bowl and Bottle and Can.

Other businesses will allow alcoholic drinks in their stores, but will not sell them. Participating businesses, including retailers that allow drinks into their stores, will feature a “Downtown Salisbury Social District” sticker at the door/window.

Stewart Troutman expects the list of participants to grow over time.

“We have new businesses in the pipeline who have already said they are excited to participate when they open, and some existing businesses who may join after they are able to educate staff or assess the operation of the district, so I do think more will begin to participate as time goes on,” she said.

Chris Ostle, co-owner of The Fish Bowl, said the bar is approaching the social district with caution. At least for the time being, Ostle said The Fish Bowl will only offer social district drinks on certain days.

Paul Bardinas, co-owner of Carpe Vinum 121, doesn’t expect the new social district to have a major impact on the fine-dining restaurant, but he does think it will “liven up downtown a bit” and provide a boost to other restaurants and bars. Bardinas said the district could prove to be “great for our community” by promoting more downtown foot traffic.

Violations of social district rules should be reported to the Salisbury Police Department at 911.

For more information, lists of participating businesses and rules and regulations, go to downtownsalisburync.com/socialdistrict.

Downtown Salisbury Social District Goes Into Effect July 1st

June 23, 2022  Marvin BeachSamantha Gilstrap

Beginning Friday, visitors to downtown Salisbury can walk around with their alcoholic beverage of choice thanks to the execution of a new social district.

The Downtown Salisbury Social District (DSSD) becomes official Friday, July 1st, after months of preparation, discussion, merchant information sessions and final City Council approval.

A social district is designated area in which alcoholic beverages are allowed to be carried in open containers on the street.

Salisbury’s Social District follows the passing of the Bring Business Back to Downtown Bill by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, which officials say aims to increase economic vitality in downtowns across North Carolina.

In the new social district, visitors will be able to buy an alcoholic beverage in a special DSSD cup from an ABC-permitted, participating business.

Participating businesses, including retailers that allow drinks into their stores, will feature a “Downtown Salisbury Social District” sticker at the door/window, according to a news release.

Officials say DSSD boundary signs will be posted along the route over the next few days.

A boundary map also is available on the Downtown Salisbury website, and accessed via the QR code on all social district signs.

Officials say drinks must be consumed within the social district and before entering any vehicle.

Visitors may stroll within the district Monday through Sunday between 12 p.m. and 12 a.m., and within Bell Tower Green Park, Monday through Sunday, as follows:

  • November 1st through March 1st: between 5 p.m. and park closing.
  • March 2nd through October 31st: between 6 p.m. and park closing.

Officials say alcoholic beverages may not be consumed or sold during and within the boundary of a public street festival, during a special event sponsored by the City of Salisbury, or within the boundary of Bell Tower Green Park when the event is permitted and held per city ordinance.

This does not prohibit the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within Bell Tower Green Park pursuant to a properly licensed and permitted event, according to a news release.

Click here for more information on rules and regulations for The Downtown Salisbury Social District.

The Fun Factory will bring ‘a place for families’ to downtown Salisbury

SALISBURY — Tired of having to drive outside of Rowan County to take her two boys, Waylen and Wyatt, to a safe indoor play place, Marianna Riley Jarrett decided to create her own closer to home.

Jarrett, the owner of Spotlight Dance Company, is preparing to open The Fun Factory right next door to her studio at 120 N. Church St. The indoor play cafe will have it all — a three-story “soft play” playground, a ninja course with more than a dozen obstacles, a mini-trampoline park, a toddler section, two birthday party rooms and a small gift shop. A cafe at the front of The Fun Factory will have coffee, tea, sandwiches, salads and baked goods made in-house.

“We’re going to offer a lot of different things and I do think it is something Salisbury has needed,” Jarrett said.

Jarrett is targeting late August as an opening date for The Fun Factory.

The project has been in the works for several years. Jarrett was poised to sign a lease on another location before the pandemic brought everything to a halt.

“I was devastated,” Jarrett said. “I’m not going to lie. I put in a year of planning, a year of work. I was disappointed that it didn’t work out.”

The setback had its own silver lining. While Jarrett was forced to put her original plans on hold, the 8,000-square-foot space right next to her dance studio became available for lease.

“I was disappointed that it didn’t work out, but in the end I’m so happy,” Jarrett said. “It’s bigger than the original space and being right there at the studio I love. It was set up almost perfectly for what I want to do.”

The future home of The Fun Factory is the former home of Bounce City, a children’s amusement park that was different but not completely dissimilar to The Fun Factory concept.

The Fun Factory and Spotlight will be two different businesses, but they will be physically intertwined.

“They’ll be separate businesses, but I want it to be cohesive as well,” Jarrett said. “If people are dancing and they have siblings who can play, they can go in there and play. We’re also opening a cafe in the space. That’ll be great for our competition dancers who are at the studio from 4 to 9 at night.”

The soft play playground has been specially designed to fit the physical parameters of the building and will have slides and other typical playground equipment. The ninja course is reminiscent of what one might see when watching NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” but on a smaller and safer scale. The course will have 15 obstacles.

Jarrett said The Fun Factory will have something for kids of all ranges, from toddlers to 14 year olds. The plan is to have a specific section for toddlers and to reserve a “toddler time” during which only kids 3 and under can use the play equipment.

“It’s a place for families with multiple kids where the parents can come, maybe use our free wi-fi and get some work done, let their kids play, grab something to eat and have a place where they can safely play,” Jarrett said.

Jarrett envisions The Fun Factory becoming a birthday party destination. And with a bakery on site, Jarrett said The Fun Factory will offer customizable birthday cakes and other sweet treats. She expects to also host a variety of family-friendly events, such as yoga classes, story time and art classes.

“There’s not anything like it and especially in the cold months and on rainy days, it’ll be a really fun place for parents to bring their kids,” Jarrett said.

The entrance to The Fun Factory will be on North Church Street. A closed off foyer will allow The Fun Factory employees to monitor who enters and exits the facility, which is another feature of the building that Jarrett is excited about.

The renovation process is now underway. Construction crews will take out the carpet, repaint the walls and install the cafe. The playground equipment, Jarrett said, is currently being built and constructed and is scheduled to arrive in July. Crews will need about 35 days to put it together.

Up to date information about the renovation process and opening will be posted on thefunfactorydowntown.com.

Salisbury locals win big at N.C. Main Street Awards

SALISBURY, N.C., (Monday, March 14, 2022) – Three Downtown Salisbury stakeholders, local architecture and development firms, and Downtown Salisbury, Inc. (DSI) received honors at the recent North Carolina Main Street Awards ceremony.

Whitney W. Williams of Wallace & Graham, P.A. was named a “North Carolina Main Street Champion,” while Heart of Salisbury took Best Public-Private Partnership in Downtown Revitalization and Barnhardt Jewelers & Lofts on Innes took Best Adaptive Reuse Project at the annual North Carolina Main Street Conference, held virtually. Nominations were accepted for projects completed between October 2019 through October 2021.

“Downtown Salisbury’s tagline as a ‘Main Street Original’ is a reminder that we were one of the first Main Street communities in North Carolina,” said Downtown Development Director Sada Stewart Troutman. “:However, the continued success of development in our downtown, spearheaded in 2021 by our three award winners, Heart of Salisbury, Barnhardt Jewelers/Lofts on Innes and Whitney Williams, shows that we remain one of the strongest downtowns in the state. It is an exciting time to live, work and play in Downtown Salisbury, and we are so grateful to Wivianny, Josh, Debbie, Whitney and their teams for their continued celebration and vocal support for all things Salisbury. They join a storied group of Main Street Champions and Main Street Award winners from Salisbury who have all made, and continue to make, Salisbury a better place.”

Williams Family

Whitney Wallace Williams has dedicated almost seven years of service to Downtown Salisbury, Inc. (DSI). She served as a member of the DSI board and as its vice-chair and chair. Since rotating off the board, Wallace has stayed active with the organization by serving on the Organizational Committee. With her legal training and experience, she has been essential to so many DSI projects. Wallace also served as the chair of the Empire Hotel Redevelopment Task Force, which was responsible for selecting a developer to purchase and redevelop the historic downtown hotel. The Empire’s successful redevelopment will be transformative for the city and its downtown. 

Heart of Heart of Salisbury is a 5,000-square-foot wellness destination located in the former Flowers Bakery Building at 120 East Innes Street in downtown Salisbury. Best described as a wellness incubator, the facility includes seven affordable office suites for wellness professionals; studios and art galleries used for yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, and belly dance; a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes; and a retail shop with local and fair trade goods. The concept for the project was to create a self-sustaining wellness complex where professionals have affordable rent, local artists have a space to exhibit and sell their artwork, new chefs have a place to connect with the community, and yogis have a community space, surrounded by artwork, to practice and teach. The Heart of Salisbury’s mission is to “help build a healthy community by giving individuals access to affordable yoga classes, professional wellness services, mindfulness education, food education, and art appreciation.” It is a synergistic model that utilizes a rehabilitated industrial setting to bring wellness professionals and clients to downtown Salisbury.

Barnhardt Jewelers/Lofts on Innes at 112 and 114 Innes Street are housed in a building constructed in 1885, is two-story, rectangular brick building with a single-story rear addition. The height, scale, and building materials are typical of many of the commercial buildings and despite modifications to the storefront, the upper facade has retained a significant degree of architectural integrity. The building previously had a saloon in the front and a billiards hall in the back, and was later used for storage. 114 Innes Street was constructed between 1931 and 1950 and replaced the first structure on that property that dated back to around 1890. The earliest use was a barber shop.  Much of the architectural character of the buildings was retained in the rehabilitation, including the wood floors and the pressed tin ceilings. The storefront of 112 East Innes Street was rebuilt.

Local professionals, including The Bogle Firm Architecture, Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit consultant, LMY, Inc., and Central Piedmont Builders worked on both of these building rehabilitation projects that were completed in March (Heart of Salisbury) and December 2020 (Barnhardt Jewelers). Including this year’s group of honorees, 837 Main Street Champions have been recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce since 2000. A panel of judges selected the project award winners from more than 35 nominations submitted by Main Street and Small Town Main Street communities statewide.

Downtown Salisbury wants public input on possible social district for alcohol consumption

Downtown Salisbury Social District Map

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – Downtown Salisbury Inc. (DSI) wants input from Salisbury residents on the possibility of setting up a downtown social district for alcohol consumption.

Such a designation would allow patrons of downtown ABC permitted establishments in Salisbury to drink an alcoholic beverage on sidewalks and public areas in the social district.

The City of Kannapolis was one of the first in the state to establish such a district following legislation approved by the N.C. General Assembly in September.

Continue reading “Downtown Salisbury wants public input on possible social district for alcohol consumption”

New “Social District” Could Allow Alcohol Consumption On Downtown Salisbury Streets

SALISBURY, N.C. – You could soon stroll the streets of downtown Salisbury with a drink in hand.

A business stakeholder group is pushing the city to create a “social district” where open containers would be allowed.

“We hope it’ll be a driver for tourism. We know that we’ll be one of the first of a handful of cities to pass this,” says Samantha Haspel, with Downtown Salisbury Inc.

It’s something Haspel thinks could make downtown Salisbury a destination — the ability to allow local bars, restaurants, and other businesses to sell open containers of alcohol that customers can walk out with and enjoy while strolling through downtown.

Continue reading “New “Social District” Could Allow Alcohol Consumption On Downtown Salisbury Streets”

DSI is proposing the creation of a Downtown Salisbury Social District

Downtown Salisbury Social District Map

and we encourage the community to attend one of the numerous public engagement sessions!

DSI will be sharing….

The background of this bi-partisan bill, which was passed as part of the “Bring Business Back Downtown” measure. It is intended to be an economic vitality tool to responsibly bring the community back downtown after a year of hardship on our businesses.

The strict guidelines involved in creating and maintaining the social district to show the immense amount of planning involved in creating a safe and responsible environment for all downtown residents, visitors, merchants and stakeholders.

Continue reading “DSI is proposing the creation of a Downtown Salisbury Social District”

Main Spotlight: Announcing the 2021 Main Street America Designated Communities

Photo by NC Main Street Program
People eating outside

Announcing the 2021 Main Street America Designated Communities and 2020 Reinvestment Statistics

We are proud to announce that 883 Main Street programs across the country have earned Accredited status, Main Street America’s top level of recognition. This elite designation signifies a strong commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization, along with a track record of effectively applying the Main Street Approach™. We also applaud the 337 programs that have been designated as Main Street America Affiliates this year. These programs have created meaningful improvements in their communities and are on the pathway to achieving even more significant economic, physical, and organizational improvements in their downtowns.

Combined, these Accredited and Affiliate communities generated $4.14 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 4,356 net new businesses, generated 14,988 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,488 historic buildings, and clocked 983,702 volunteer hours in 2020. Learn more and celebrate the incredible work of the Main Street movement in this week’s Main Spotlight.


New & Upcoming in Downtown

Winsome Hanger has reopened and is now a men’s boutique!

Window display


They offer men’s formal wear rentals and sales as well as a curated mix of exclusive brands such as Brackish | Feather Bow Ties & Accessories and Brown Dog Hosiery. 

Lora Belle Baby

It’s been a long 6 months, but Lora Belle Baby has reopened! They are now located at 221 S. Main St.


Their new hours are: Monday-Friday- 10-5:30 and Saturday 10-4

7th Annual Buskers’ Bash

Busker's Bash logo

Buskers’ Bash is an annual event that celebrates the best local talent from solo
musicians to fire-tossing jugglers and every other type of street performer in between!

This year we had over 45 busker’s to sign up. This eclectic crew of sidewalk artists, showed up and showed out by performing in front of participating downtown businesses. The night was full of laughter, great music, and fun!

Congratulations to the 7th Annual Busker’s Bash winners!!

Adult

  • 1st – Steppin’ Out Dance Company
  • 2nd – Spotlight Dance Company
  • 3rd – Gavin McDaniel
  • Honorable Mention – Kennedy Tarleton
  • Honorable Mention – Cameron Brown

Youth

  • 1st – Eli Yacinthe
  • 2nd – Kayla Vega
  • 3rd – Larry Kirwin

What a great night of music, laughter and dance! Thank you to all that participated and we look forward to having you back next year! Visit our Facebook page for photos of the winners and the evening!

Thank you to all of the Busker’s, staff and most importantly our volunteers that helped make the night run smoothly!

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