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Yuba City's downtown bustling again
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It's been nearly four years since Plumas Street reopened to traffic after its $13.4 million makeover, and businesses and community members say they think business is finally returning to normal.
On Tuesday afternoon, there were few streetside parking spots to be found as customers browsed the shops, ate lunch in the downtown eateries and stopped in businesses for services.
Plumas Street has seen a bit of a rebirth in the last year, said Yuba City Economic Development Manager Darin Gale, pointing to openings of Cupcake Magic and Karma Cafe, and relocations from Marysville of the Sew Sew Shop, The Mercantile and Fotine's Simply Greek Cafe.
"As it relates to economic development, we never like to see one business move from one side to another, but I think what it shows is the strength of Plumas Street," Gale said. "It's a destination for multiple types of services."
He has heard positive feedback from the newer businesses and thinks it is a sign of what is ahead.
"After a major reconstruction of a downtown area, it takes a while for it to recover," he said. "Over the last year, businesses that were able to make it through were able to maintain, and though there are still some businesses that struggle due to the economy, Plumas Street has once again become a destination for the Yuba-Sutter region."
California Red's Cafe is the most recent closure to hit Plumas Street. Its doors closed over the weekend and window writing tells customers it will be reopening soon at a new location.
The prominent restaurant spot at Colusa Avenue and Plumas has been home to many eating establishments over the years, including Mexican, Italian and an ice cream shop.
"It's an amazing location on the corner of our highway corridor and downtown, with lots of parking," Gale said. "As far as I know, the business didn't close from lack of business."
California Red's owner Lisa Harris confirmed the restaurant was not lacking for customers, but declined to comment further. She said she doesn't have definite plans for where she is relocating, but she will be back in the community.
Vanessa Marshall said she is happy to be back on Plumas Street after closing her business during construction in 2008. She opened a new store, Birds Eye View Garden Shoppe on May 1, and has seen a lot of new faces during last week's Summer Stroll.
Many passers-by stopped in to admire the chicken coops, hummingbird feeders and garden-inspired decor.
Marshall thinks businesses could benefit from more regular events downtown.
"There could be more things down here to attract people," she said. "It's good exposure for everybody."
After Cindy Paine, of Jerry's Auto Stereo, battled thyroid cancer last year, she was looking for a way to lose weight and get back to her former self.
She came up with Walk the Loop, an idea to not only improve her own health and wellness but that of the community while drawing some extra traffic to Plumas Street.
The program, aided by Gauche Aquatic Park is a free, whenever-you-want invitation to pound the pavement between Colusa Highway and the park.
"I like our Plumas Street area and I want people to come out and start walking," she said. "Get out, get in motion."
Fotine HalikasKopriva had a similar idea by putting out seats and tables in front of her restaurant, Fontine's, thinking it adds to the allure and encourages people to sit and stay a while.
"It makes it welcoming and inviting," she said. "It gives an appearance of Europe, where they drink coffee outside, they watch traffic, they watch the people ... We have the perfect street to do that."
HalikasKopriva has been on Plumas Street since January and said she loves its visibility, foot traffic and events. She's hoping to bring a Greek Festival to downtown this fall and encourages residents to patronize their businesses during these economic challenges.
"If you don't support them, there will not be businesses in town in the long run," she said. "We have to ride it out."
At Plumas and Center streets for more than two decades, Quality Consignments has weathered more than one economic downturn, but business has been great lately, said Maria Nateras.
Mid-afternoon on Tuesday, several customers were rifling through the racks inside the store, which recently underwent an exterior restoration to better reflect its days as the Huckins Building.
"A lot of people notice it, and they love it," Nateras said. "People drive by and say they didn't recognize us."
CONTACT Ashley Gebb at email@example.com or 749-4783.Find her on Facebook at /ADagebb or on Twitter at @ADagebb.