Spartanburg Main Street Challenge on hold - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg Main Street Challenge on hold

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Signs for the Main Street Challenge in downtown Spartanburg properties. (File/FOX Carolina) Signs for the Main Street Challenge in downtown Spartanburg properties. (File/FOX Carolina)

There are new businesses and some empty spaces around downtown Spartanburg and Robin Snelgrove moved into one of them. 

"We're glad we did it," Snelgrove said. She's the co-owner of Paisley Paw, a pet boutique. "All our lives, we've had some sort of pet." 

Inside the boutique shoppers will find accessories, toys, a grooming center and a DYI (Do it Yourself) dog washing station. 

"When the Main Street Challenge came, we thought we just need to do this," she said. 

Snelgrove is a recent winner of Spartanburg's Main Street Challenge. The program is a competition which awards small business owners financial backing to rent empty downtown spaces. 

Jenn Tirado and her family won the challenge too. 

"That's been really really great - as far as recognition for us," Tirado said. 

She and her family are winners of Food Court Wars, a show which airs on the Food Network. "That's been such a plus for us," Tirado said. 

As winners of Food Court Wars, they opened Tirado's inside WestGate Mall's food court and received free rent for a year. However, after the lease expired they wanted to move to Main Street, so they entered the challenge and won. 

"There was no restaurant space that was the right size for us," Tirado said. 

She said as small business owners, the space and unexpected costs wouldn't help them, but put them under, so they pulled out. Now, they're preparing to open a new restaurant in Greenville County off Stallings Road. They expect to open sometime in early 2015. 

"They're going to continue to get the good quality Puerto Rican-inspired food that we've always served," Tirado said. 

And now, the Main Street Challenge in Spartanburg is on hold. 

"The momentum that the program created was beyond our expectations," said Patty Bock, economic development director with Spartanburg. "The spaces that remain in our downtown are quite large - ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 square feet." 

She said it's tough to get small business owners outfitted for those empty spaces, but she said the Main Street Challenge program is a success. She said the program brought more foot traffic and 30 new businesses to the area. Spartanburg city leaders held the competition for two years.

Bock said the city decided to put the program on hold because city leaders want to re-evaluate or maybe even tweak the program to coincide with future projects that may need large available spaces. 

"There's a lot of changes that will be taking place in the downtown within the next year," Bock said. 

And for Snelgrove, she said her posh pup boutique is just the right fit for her. 

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