Downtown Johnson City has seen a resurgence lately. With more and more businesses opening, more and more people are making their way down to the small area, centered around Main Street, to shop, eat, drink and experience the downtown community.
From bike stores to breweries to coffee shops, restaurants, makeup artists and photography studios, the diversity of products and services that the downtown area offers is continuing to change and grow.
One thing that sticks out is the number of small businesses that have stuck around to be a part of it. Most of the businesses downtown are small businesses that have benefited from the recent popularity boost.
Dick Nelson has been running his own small business, Nelson Fine Art, since 1999. His decade-old coffee shop, Dos Gatos, has recently moved into a new space of its own, with a beautiful interior and practices to reduce waste, making it carve its own niche into the old downtown space.
Nelson believes the businesses’ uniqueness and help from the city is what has helped the downtown grow into a place where people will skip a drive-thru to park in a lot and walk two block for blocks of coffee.
“Every town has JCPenney's, but only one town has Little Animals Brewery and Nelson Fine Arts and Dos Gatos,” said Nelson.
Ren Allen is a makeup artist who has been working in downtown Johnson City for almost four years. In a word, she describes the downtown small business community as “vibrant.”
“I absolutely love my small-business neighbors,“ said Allen.
Allen said that one of the things that makes having a small-business downtown great is how the business owners and clientele all value community and city that are not only focused on making downtown better, but the whole region.
“They care about diversity, they care about inclusivity, they care about how we can make downtown better for every one,” said Allen.