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Posted: 3:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2013
By Andrew Doud
ROCK HILL, S.C. —
Revitalizing a city’s downtown can be critical to economic growth.
In Rock Hill, they revamped their downtown over the past five years thanks to the support of several small businesses.
But Eyewitness News spoke to the owner of one who had to close this week. She said some of the development that was expected didn't come soon enough.
Two years ago, Patti Petersen opened Periwinkles Cafe and Bakery in downtown Rock Hill. The location wasn't her first choice.
"I'll be honest, I was really hesitant because it was downtown. It's had two other businesses in it already that had failed," Petersen said.
But she said encouragement from the city and a financial incentive helped convinced her.
Thursday, she informed her customers it was the bakery's last day.
"As far as day to day, it's just not there," Petersen said.
Petersen said she had dedicated regular customers, but there just wasn't enough foot traffic. And plans the city had in the works that she felt would have helped didn't come soon enough.
"Things never happen as quickly as we would like them to. They just don't," said Stephen Turner, Rock Hill's economic development director.
He said the city has made significant progress redeveloping downtown, but they still have more work to do.
"If you had been in downtown Rock Hill four or five years ago, you wouldn't have found a single restaurant open in downtown Rock Hill," Turner said.
They're now planning to add a new office building and park in the downtown area.
They're also slated to demolish the old Woolworth building on Main Street and build a five-story, 46-unit apartment building with a first floor that will be used by Winthrop University.
It's the kind of development Peterson was hoping for that simply didn't come fast enough.
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