Grassroots Efforts to Revitalize Downtown Irving

Irving residents are becoming small business owners in the Heritage District area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A grassroots movement is underway to revitalize downtown Irving and businesses are sprouting up along the city's historic Main Street like never before.

    A grassroots movement is underway to revitalize downtown Irving.

    Earlier this year, the city severed ties with a developer that was planning to transform the heritage district area. Now, new businesses are sprouting up along the city's historic main street area like never before, giving hope to those who live and work there.

    Encanto Bake Shop along Irving Boulevard is closing in on its first year in business.

    "Every day, I have my usuals. Every week I've been very blessed, very blessed. The local people here in Irving are great and very supportive," said baker and owner Angie Franco. "I've been baking forever, and what best place to open up something and do what you love than downtown Irving and help it grow."

    Laurie Cedillo is also getting ready to celebrate her boutique's one-year anniversary. She said having her store in the historic part of Irving holds a special meaning.

    "Just because it's old doesn't mean that it's old. You can always beautify it. Everybody likes a little bit of culture. If you don't have any culture, you don't have anything. You just have a big city," she said.

    About a handful of new businesses opened up in the Downtown area over the past year.

    Brian Smith, pharmacist and owner of Big State Drug, said that is more than he's ever seen during the two decades that he's been there.

    "It brings more people to the area, so the more people that come down here the more people that have a chance of coming in here, so yeah, it's great," he said.

    Smith's drug store keeps busy with mostly pharmacy sales, but he said loyal customers appreciated its small diner and retails area just as much.

    "It had that good old hometown corner drugstore nice homey feel to it, and we've tried to keep that and I think the other businesses down here kind of do the same thing," he said.

    The city's Chamber of Commerce said it expects more growth next year, with several active prospects already in place.