'We're still open': Pikeville officials hopeful for future of economy
Several businesses in Pikeville have decided to keep their doors closed, leaving empty storefronts when the pandemic passes.
The Blue Raven, a tourist destination, announced its decision earlier this month, then Southern Biscuit and Grill covered its windows and made its exit from the downtown dining scene.
But the city is still working to keep progress on the forefront.
"You know, from the city's standpoint, we are undertaking a lot of activities. Advertising, marketing, working with local businesses to let people know we're still open and that all of these things are in Pikeville and encourage them to come here," said city manager Philip Elswick.
One piece of that plan is Below Five, a discount store that specializes in merchandise that is $5 and under. The store recently erected its sign in the former Dress Barn building in the Pikeville Commons.
"A lot of people, as that news has leaked out, has been very excited about it," Elswick said. "A national brand that has quite the following, so we're glad that's gonna be part of our shopping center."
Fazoli's is also still expected to come to Pikeville. Elswick says having businesses like this on deck is like a light for the city as they move into the next phase of progress.
He said supporting the current downtown businesses and restaurants is a good way to counteract the loss from the businesses that closed their doors. But he also hopes to see someone take over the businesses like The Blue Raven, to keep the flavor alive.
"They want to experience that and they come to Pikeville specifically for that," Elswick said. "We certainly hope that business will reopen and continue that tradition."