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In the year since Tony Flowers launched Liberty Trading, a coin and precious metal shop in downtown Vandalia, he’s heard the complaint one too many times.
“There’s nothing in downtown Vandalia,” the naysayers insist.
Well, Flowers is doing something about it. Along with his son, Sam, and son-in-law, Sean, he is preparing to launch five new businesses on Gallatin Street.
“We’re trying to revitalize downtown,” Flowers said. “We want to bring it back. We’re hoping that these businesses will bring other businesses into the downtown area.”
The businesses are:
• An Internet consignment shop at 514 W. Gallatin St. (A place to sell things on the Internet. It will also feature UPS and Fed Ex pickup and delivery.)
• A fabric shop at 504 W. Gallatin St. (A store selling fabrics and sewing accessories.)
• A custom woodworking shop at 505 W. Gallatin St. (A store where custom wooden items are crafted.)
• A coffee and ice cream shop at 515 W. Gallatin St. (A sit-down coffee shop that also serves ice cream. It will feature wireless Internet access.)
• A cheese shop at 513 W. Gallatin St. (Adjoining the coffee and ice cream shop, this shop will sell cheeses of all types.)
The first three shops will be up and running within the next couple weeks. The other two are targeted to be open before Grande Levée in September.
“We’ve asked a lot of people what they’d like to have down here,” Flowers said. “We’ve tried not to copy things that are already here; we want things that are different and unique.”
Flowers said that the push to launch new businesses isn’t an effort to hurt existing businesses. Instead, he wants to help them by increasing the traffic in the downtown business district.
“We just want to show people that it can be done,” he said. “If everybody does something, it will get people to come back downtown.”
A carpenter by trade, Flowers has built several houses in the area and also did maintenance work at the Fayette County Health Department. Before launching Liberty Trading, he had worked as a superintendent on Wal-Mart store remodeling projects throughout the country.
For more information, Flowers can be reached at Liberty Trading at 283-9244.