LAFAYETTE — Greg Anspach and his family have lived in the city as long as anyone has — his parents started Anspach’s Jewelry in 1955 in Old Town Lafayette. In the year In 1967, they purchased the building at 101 S. Public Road for their business.
In the years since Anspach took over his parents’ business, he has seen the downtown area continue to grow and improve, and in the past two years, he has seen a lot of growth, new businesses and developments move into the Miami area. From the first feature.
“In the last two or three years, the viability of this area has increased so much that I can’t even put a percentage on it,” Anspach said.
Lafayette Economic Development Director Brigid Keating said the downtown area is recovering well from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, with businesses growing and thriving.
“The region as a whole has done incredibly well,” Keating said. “We’re continuing to grow and we’re seeing a lot of businesses really thrive…One of the best parts about Old Town is that you can start your business here, be in a shared space or a food truck and then expand into something else. big Seeing people doing well and having a successful small business in the area makes my job very interesting.
Vicki Trumbo, executive director of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, said some signs of the district’s overall health are constant heavy foot traffic and restaurants filling up even on weeknights.
“The short answer is downtown is doing well,” Trumbo said. “The restaurants are full, there’s a bond over and above the street, there’s an atmosphere and a connection.
Anspach, who took over the jewelry business from his parents in 1983, said the retail and dining options in downtown Lafayette were nowhere near what they are now.
“It’s great to see so many people embracing Lafayette,” Anspach said. “All the people coming downtown, the great food, the exciting retail — it really gets to the individuals who come into town and want to put their business here. That’s what it takes, and then it kind of snowballs.”
As the area continues to grow, Anspach Jewelry has grown along with it. The store is expanding to take over the entire space in the building. The interior is being completely gutted to make way for a larger, more expansive showroom and a more efficient workshop. Anspach said the company plans to hire more employees as part of its growth. Construction on the project will begin in December and be completed in time for Valentine’s Day.
“It was something we wanted to do for five to six years,” Anspach said. “We are very excited. It will definitely be a showcase for downtown. We are very excited about making the improvements and further enhancing what is downtown.
Another longtime downtown business, The Lafayette Flea at 130 E. Spaulding St., is also entering a new era. The flea market’s founders retired after 32 years, and new owner John Smith bought it in July. Smith said other buyers would like to close the business, demolish the building and redevelop the site — something he has no intention of doing.
“Most of the people who wanted to buy the building were going to close the flea market and do something else with the building,” Smith said. “The suppliers were all very happy that we decided to take it on, and they are very proud of it.”
Keating said it’s a relief to city employees, neighboring businesses and local residents that the building was purchased not by someone looking to redevelop, but by someone investing in the business and helping it grow.
“A lot of us were nervous about that building,” Keating said. “It’s nice to see someone who has seen the value of that place. We were so scared that someone wanted to destroy it.
For his part, Smith said he has done a lot of restoration work on the market, such as landscaping improvements on the exterior and cleaning up the interior to create a more open layout, and the results are already promising. August was the highest sales month in the business’s history, Smith said.
Smith changed the business to The Lafayette Flea to help him continue the big numbers he did in August. He is also reaching out to local muralists to paint the sides of the building.
“We want to try to create a little community here,” Smith said. “I was never familiar with downtown Lafayette. Everyone seems to know everyone. It is very strict. It’s the most fun project I’ve ever done. “
Creating a small community is what developer Graham Bailhache is trying to do with his new food hall at Southeast Public Road and Baseline Road. The site at the northern terminus of Public Road was formerly a Sinclair gas station. Bailhache, general contractor BV Builders and owner of the restaurant community at 206 S. Public Road, decided to redevelop the gas station because a more aesthetically pleasing, walkable building would make the best use of the space.
The 16,000-square-foot food court will consist of four counter-service local food businesses, an ice cream stand and a bar. Upstairs will have a second bar with board games and video games for both kids and adults. There will also be a covered patio and outdoor activity area.
“We want something where families can get food and drinks to go and kids can run wild in the restaurant,” Beilhache said. “There are a lot of people who have kids and want to go out to these places without feeling anything.”
Keating said the food hall will help the city capitalize on the growing trend and serve as a better entry point to the old town.
“This will be a great introduction to the district,” Keating said. “Food halls are now all over the country. It offers a great place for small businesses and consumers to get mixed deals.
Downtown success is not limited to public road corridors. East Simpson Street was the heart of Lafayette’s original business district, but it was relatively dormant when Leslie Wing-Pomeroy opened East Simpson Coffee Company in 2014.
Wing-Pomeroy and her husband moved from Boulder to Lafayette after their children were grown. She worked at Starbucks for years. When the couple bought a house on East Simpson Street, Wing-Pomeroy saw an opportunity to open a coffee shop and create a space that would bring some value to that part of the community.
The store is located at 414 E. Simpson St. It opened on and aims to be a slow-paced coffee shop where people spend a lot of time, as opposed to shops like Starbucks that have a revolving door of customers.
“We’ve created a community where you can come and hang out,” Wing-Pomeroy said.
Last year, East Simpson Coffee moved two blocks down Public Road, to 201 E. Public Road. Wing-Pomeroy said this helped the business strike a balance between being close to a major highway and being in its own little downtown neighborhood.
“That helped a lot,” Wing-Pomeroy said. It’s still off the beaten path, but close enough that people can easily find us. We just hit the ground running. I think our biggest difference is more exposure. People really love what we’ve created for ourselves and our community.
With a grant from the city, the store has built a patio and created an event space that hosts regular community meetings and is the centerpiece of the city’s farmers market.
“That whole area is full of life,” Keating said. “They do community hangouts. There’s an art gallery in the back that has its own incubator. We’re starting to see some smaller retailers come in.”
Another site on the south end of Public Road is coming to life — a 44,286-square-foot building at 1380 S. Public Road will finally have a tenant after years of being vacant.
“That building was empty for about five years,” Trumbo said. “It’s a very big deal. I think this will have a big impact.”
The venue is topped off by Bounce Empire, an indoor inflatable amusement park that includes a restaurant, bar and cinema.
“This will provide a place for entertainment and recreation in the center of the city,” Keating said. “It’s just connecting puzzle pieces and filling in the gaps.”
As the downtown area continues to grow and change, business owners and city workers know they need to preserve as much of Old Town’s original character as possible.
“Evolution has definitely taken place,” Beilhache said. “When I first moved here, there wasn’t much activity in Old Town. Now you’re seeing some exciting and exciting businesses move in and make it even closer to the destination. It has become more commercial and fun, but at the same time it has kept its original character.
“One thing that’s unique about Old Town is that there’s just a strong sense of community in the local businesses,” Keating said. “The attitude is, ‘If the business next door is doing well, I’m doing well.’ That partnership is unique, and great to see in Old Town. We understand how special Old Town is. What is happening here is extremely innovative and we want to support that.