New business coming to downtown Wichita Falls is making progress

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The grocery store located at 922 Indiana in downtown Wichita Falls is making some progress.

Dane Rodriguez, one of the businesses co-owners, said keeping the building's history alive is part of the blueprint.

"We wanted to be very meticulous on respecting the age of the building and the integrity of what once was here," said Rodriguez. "So, the ceiling tiles we probably replaced 60-percent, and the pine wood floor we restored back to its original color."

Rodriguez said he and his two business partners are doing some research and shopping around when it comes to their plans for the new grocery store.

Local items are expected to fill the shelves and he also plans on displaying artwork by local artists.

Although an exact date is not in the bag just yet, what he can say is a soda fountain and ice cream parlor will be up and running in about five months.

"We want to bring back a nostalgic theme," said Rodriguez. "There was a soda fountain here at one point."

He said they could not have gotten this far without the city behind them.

"The city's been great," said Rodriguez. "The 4B Board has been so gracious. Some of the coding issues are big problems for business owners downtown, and they've really come through and stepped up to help us with the funding and some of the projects."

While checking out one of the newest additions to downtown, the Highlander Public House located on Scott Street, Henry Florsheim, President of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce said the 4B Board, 4A Board, and the city council staff recently decided that one of their top priorities is downtown.

"The chamber of commerce has stepped out and said the same thing we all understand, that the future of our city hinges partially on the rebirth of our downtown," said Florsheim.

He said there is a lot happening in the area, like new restaurants, bars and retailers.

"It's really important not just for our own citizens to have more stuff to do, but for our economic development efforts as well," said Florsheim. "People want to have that place where they can go and meet their friends and have multiple options of different things they can walk to."

Many people downtown said that is exactly what they are looking for.

"We just like to drink and have fun and socialize and be with our friends," said Holly Campbell, of Wichita Falls. "I'm glad that it's growing and more things are coming."

Nancy Nelson of Iowa Park agrees but said she would like to see more shops pop up.

Florsheim said for those who are thinking about opening up a business downtown he encourages them to stop by the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce to learn about the city's vision, get connected with entrepreneurs who have already set up shop downtown, and for help finding the right property.

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