Downtown Hopewell set to become a ‘mini Carytown’

Downtown Hopewell set to become a ‘mini Carytown’

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Downtown Hopewell is taking off.

Two new businesses open Friday, and many others have popped up over the past two years. That’s why some are calling it the “10-year overnight success,” hoping the stretch of east Broadway will become a “mini Carytown.”

With a new "H" saying hello to visitors at the city’s entrance, Hopewell is ready to rack in new business.

You’ll spot several shops, and owners say they’re flourishing.

“There’s a negative connotation that comes with Hopewell,” said Jenny Gum, manager of Gun Cotton coffee shop.

“Those of us that live and work here aren't seeing that at all,” she said.

All of Gun Cotton’s employees are part of a job training program. It’s celebrating its first successful year with a brunch this Saturday.

Two storefronts down, you can try to steal a kingpin’s ancient sword in an hour in the escape room.

“Some people get out before then but some people never make it out so it is a challenge,” said first-time business owner Cris White.

There’s one room in Room ESC now, and owners hope to have three by May.

Their grand opening is Friday, as is Skrimp Shack’s. The seafood restaurant will serve up thick layered fillet sandwiches and hush puppies.

Across the street you can listen to local musicians and snag some mead, produced in house at Haley’s Meadery.

“Mead is the oldest fermented beverage in the world and it makes delicious alcohol,” Shani Haley said.

Soon you’ll be able to bar hop to the Irish pub being built right next door.

“We’re hoping for a late St. Patrick’s day in April blast," Owner Stephanie Marzigliano said.

It’ll have a full menu of traditional Irish foods.

Why set up shop in Hopewell? These business owners say it’s simple.

“I like to say I have the best job in Hopewell,” Gum said. “I've gotten to see a lot of community show up for, but also be founded by the relationships that happen naturally here.”

"The Hopewell downtown partnership has made it so easy to get something started from the ground up,” White said.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.