New businesses open up in downtown Flint

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FLINT (WJRT) - (06/18/15) - Downtown Flint has seen some major revitalization over the years, and just in time for summer, those improvements are continuing.

Investors in downtown Flint are building on what people who enjoy the area already know: it's fun to eat, walk and hang out in the heart of the city.

"I really like the atmosphere. Like it's kind of breezy, sunny, nice sidewalk,” said Halle Biggs, who was visiting downtown.

"I love it. I couldn't be more excited. I think it's awesome, everything that they're doing,” said Kristy Bearse, who works downtown.

"See people riding bicycles, it's really laid back, I really like it, it's really chill,” said Vonte Brown, who was visiting downtown.

Adding to the ranks of a thriving and growing downtown is the Ground Floor Grocery in the Dryden building. The store had its soft opening Wednesday. Since then, their homemade, local sandwiches, salads, pastries and coffee have been flying off the shelves.

"Here you just come in, you grab your sandwich, you grab your drink and you can get back to work or your meeting or whatever you've got going on,” said Jennifer Wenzlick, an intern at Ground Floor Grocery.

Also in the works is Asian-fusion restaurant Merge, next to table and tap on Saginaw Street. It's slated to open next week.

Some other downtown improvements are moving along, too, like the old Metropolis Club next to 501.

"Kind of just like a beginning phase of just cleaning it out, having it ready so if there's interested, businesses that are looking to relocate or start up in the area, it's kind of a clean shell for them to see,” said Marcus Papin, with the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation.

Papin also points to the old pharmacy across the street from the Dryden.

"It’ll take what's currently an abandoned 10,000 square foot single-use building and it's going to divide it up into eight new storefronts,” Papin said.

Developers want business owners and the public to know that a strong urban center is important.

"I think the demand is really great. Knowing that there is a lot of interest in opening businesses in downtown Flint really shows that there's a strong push for the economy to come back to our area,” Papin said.

Ele's place, a Michigan grieving center for children, will soon be moving downtown, too. They have offices in place on the second floor of the Dryden building.

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