Retail shops coming to former Rum Runners building


    WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Store owners say that business is booming in downtown Wilmington, and now they’re looking for some new shops to keep the momentum going.

    Over the years the downstairs are of 21 N. Front Street has seen restaurants such as Rum Runners and Smoke come and go.

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    Now John Sutton, the building’s owner, is offering up the space for retailers who are shopping for a discount.

    “We’re going to divide it up and just offer up a little change in downtown,” said Hunter Ford. “One of my biggest goals is to get rid of these booths and to fill these windows back up with merchandise.”

    To accomplish that goal the space is being cleaned up and transformed into a series of six small stores, ideally suited for the next generation of downtown business owners.

    “We thought maybe bringing it back to retail and offering that chance to get started in not such an expensive space, and bring a little bit more shopping to this busy section of Front Street,” said Ford. “Hopefully these tenants can get started here, and then move into a larger space and fill up the rest of downtown.”

    Ford says by bringing more business downtown it’s a chance to show the rest of the Tar Heel state that Wilmington is no longer blowing smoke.

    “When you come into town from every direction it’s amazing, and it’s really busting down here,” said Ford. “To see downtown continue to grow and not just be isolated into a couple of blocks is what we’re looking for.”

    It appears the business model is already paying off. One of the spaces has already been scooped up by a brand new cake and gourmet shop