Midtown District: A Continuing Success Story In A Tough Economy

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It's midday Friday.

The sidewalk tables outside Dreamer's are finding some takers. Around the corner the Wedge Cheese shop is serving customers. Down a block or two, the racks of children's clothes are ready for browsing at Sippies.

In fact all up and down this stretch of South Virginia at retail shops and restaurants, people are doing business.

The newest kid on the block is Chuy's Mexican Kitchen, across from Dreamers at South Virginia and St. Lawrence. It's just the first in a new development called Sticks.

Chuy's shares the development with one other building, soon to be home to another restaurant. Carter plans to start building two more shortly.

"We'll end up building 16 different buildings," says developer Bernie Carter, "all between 1,00 to 2,000 square feet. We'll have up to six restaurants across the street in addition to the ones currently in Midtown."

Carter owns some of the other buildings in Midtown, and his newest venture is something of a departure. Instead of renovating an older building, what will rise here will be modern contemporary.

Other than that though, the concept remains the same familiar, now well-proven Midtown formula.

"Small businesses, primarily Mom and Pop. There'll be no national chains."

And whether the tenants rent or buy their space, they'll have to fit what Carter has in mind for the area. That means no bars, no late night alcohol and the district probably has enough tattoo parlors.

" I tell people I want to be able to bring my four year old granddaughter down here and feel very secure."

In fact, if a tenant sells, Carter's partnership retains the right to buy it back.

Midtown really began about five years ago with a few brave pioneers like Junkee's.Jessica Schneider.

"We were sitting ducks," she remembers.

Junkee and the other pioneers stayed and prospered. Schneider recently opened Sippees, a children's clothing store across the street.

She also spent a good deal of time recruiting others to join her.

Now, it's more the merrier.

"More diverse businesses. That brings people from all over northern Nevada to come to Midtown and eat local food, shop at local places. It's good for all of us. We need more traffic."

It's hard to argue with success, and Midtown's success is notable at a time when many commercial properties remain empty, here they are building.