On The Horizon 2019 - Page 20

Larry Lott, executive director of the Royse City Community Development Corporation, discusses the geographical boundaries of the historic downtown district. mom-and-pop-style operations and they’re very unique.” The Royse City Merchants Association has played its own role in unifying the small shops in town by hosting events among the downtown businesses for the public to enjoy. Members of the group come together each month to plan a theme for a day when shops open past regular business hours to bring the community downtown to see what local products there are, offering special prices at different stores. Sisters Kari Brashears and Jennifer Pizana started their coffee shop, “The Well,” about 10 years ago. They have both been part of the merchants association, which is open to busi- ness owners who have a business downtown. “We’re trying to get people to come down- town and see what we have to offer,” Pizana said. “What I really love is the support that businesses have for each other; it’s not about competition.” Pizana said that in the decade she’s been in Royse City, the small business scene has grown, especially for her and her sister’s coffee shop. “It’s really the first time I’ve seen down- town thrive in any given night,” she said. “It’s hard to find a place to park and for me it’s a good problem. It’s exciting to see that as a small business owner.” Julie Bryant is the executive director of the Royse City Chamber of Commerce. 20 On the Horizon SPRING 2019 Though she recognizes the importance of retail development along Interstate 30, such as the stores that have opened on the Erby Campbell intersection, Bryant said downtown businesses give the city its own personality. “Without them, we would lose a big part of what makes Royse City special,” Bryant said. Bryant also said business owners in the downtown area have banded together to create an atmosphere in which the different boutiques and restaurants compliment each other. “We’re grateful for not only what the busi- ness owners bring individually, but also their willingness to support one another,” Royse City is a part of the Texas Main Street Program, an effort to revitalize historic downtown areas across the state. The program provides participating towns infrastructure services to help maintain his- toric buildings. In addition to the revitaliza- tion efforts, the town’s Heritage Preservation Committee serves to help preserve landmarks around the city, all while expanding and attracting business opportunities. “I really think being a part of the Main Street Program has been part of our ability to keep downtown vibrant and keeping the buildings full,” Lott said. “We realized and recognized early that downtown was special and we want to keep it special, regardless of how much growth we have on the interstate.”