ONLY ON 3: Franchise restaurant downtown brings mixed feelings
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A new business is coming to downtown Wilmington. This one is a national franchise. Jimmy John's sandwich shop is set to open at 120 Market Street. Their corporate office confirmed today the store is slated to open this month.

Some people are concerned about locally-owned stores having to compete with this or any other franchise.

"It just doesn't feel the same to me as a Mixto or Yosake or a Green's Grille or Chops or something like these independent restaurants that we have run by local Downtown Wilmington people," said Bobby Purks, who lives in Downtown Wilmington.

Others say they don't mind.

"My main hope is that they serve good food," Gene Merritt said. "And I think they will be an asset to Downtown Wilmington."

City councilman Kevin O'Grady said there's no ordinance that prohibits franchises from opening in the downtown historic district. In fact, Nikki's, Kilwin's and Subway are just a few franchises that have been successful downtown.

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The way I see it Wilmington already has two successful shopping districts that are loaded with chains: Mayfaire and the Independence Mall, therefore I believe that downtown should be different in that it should have mostly "non-chain stores and restaurants", besides with downtown having a reputation of being a high crime area filled with rowdy bars, how else are you gonna draw people downtown unless there a fan of Dawson's Creek or One Tree Hill?

If you allow chains to takeover downtown, then eventually downtown will be a ghost town, because people will go to Mayfaire and the mall instead and get the same services without the parking and crime issues that plague downtown.

I find this arrogant, effete attitude of franchises not belonging downtown to be laughable. Anyone who sincerely thinks that ANY business establishment (that isn't a bar or a haedshop) won't do anything but HELP downtown is fooling themselves.

Take a look at downtown. Take a good whiff of the wino urine and vomit coming from empty store front after empty store front....

...but you still believe that a franchised sandwich shop shouldn't be there?

I just hope that the owner is smart enough to cater to the lunch crowd and closes before the drunks, druggies, and thugs take over at sundown.

Yep! Nothing funnier than the "downtowners" putting on airs!

I think downtown Wilmington/Front St. is nice. What you're describing is downtown Raleigh. When we moved here from Raleigh I found the downtown area here in Wilmington wonderful.

Check the FBI stats. Wilmington has a higher crime rate than Raleigh....and even Durham!

The writer hit the nail on the head. I am scard to death to bring my family downtown after dark and I am prior law enforcement. Your statement just means that Raleigh is a little worse than we are. Do not get me wrong, i love downtown during the day, but it is a different scene at night.

folks get pretty fired up around here. either way, I still enjoy it. most of my co-worker agree with you guys too, guess i've been fortunate.

What a lame story! I do not recall a big debate when Jersey Mike's was downtown. Ruth Chris is a franchise, not a wisp of angst there.

Jeez you people, get a life and be thankful somebody thinks downtown is worth a gamble of a few hundred thousand dollars.

Why is everyone in such an uproar over this 'chain'? Isn't Subway a 'chain' and I don't hear anyone complaining about that one! Chill out people. Maybe the new restaurant will bring more people downtown, which is the goal right now right? The continued revitalization of the Downtown Wilmington area?? With the economy the way it is, many locals can't afford to open a restaurant anywhere especially downtown. If it is a chain, it could be possible that someone locally is taking a chance. What's wrong with that?

Jimmy John's is a very good outfit and will be good for downtown. They put subway to shame.