Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Ira Quillen
Lynchburg, VA- In years past, a lot of businesses packed up and left downtown Lynchburg. But that seems to be changing. More people are moving to the area, and businesses are reaping the benefits.
Some business owners say downtown Lynchburg is on the verge of a full comeback. A lot of credit can be given to revitalization efforts that seem to be breathing new life into the city.
In 11 years, Jeff Gray has moved his skateboard and biking business Scene 3 four times. He says he's had his best success in downtown Lynchburg.
"We get people walking by something. We didn't used to have walk-in traffic or just people cruising down the street," said Gray.
It's a far cry from the downtown Lynchburg he once knew.
"It's used to be we'd come downtown to skateboard 10 years ago here and it would be a ghost-town," said Gray.
Gray is part of a string of new owners who have set up downtown in the past year and half. Everything from interior design shops to eclectic clothing boutiques like Anastacia's are cashing in on downtown's upswing. And they are banding together to keep it going.
"Of the business owners I know everyone is very supportive and tries to help each other out," said Anastacia Rice, owner of Anastacia's.
They aren't the only ones banking in on downtown's surge. Developers are flipping old properties downtown and turning them into lofts.
"We have a huge influx of people living downtown. It really changes the dynamic down here. There's people down here walking dogs, eating, out at night. It makes downtown so much more vibrant," said Anna Bentson, executive director of Lynch's Landing.
This is what Lynch's Landing has always hoped for, and they say the city is helping to spur this revival.
"There are certainly incentives with the city. There are historic tax credits if you wanted to start a business, and revitalize a building," said Bentson.
Lynch's Landing expects this trend to continue. They say when the Bluff Walk downtown is completed they are expecting two to three more loft developments and even more foot traffic.