ONLY ON 3: Addition of high-end business sign of economy recovery in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington of the future will look a little different than it does today. Two high-end businesses are coming, and it appears another well-known national chain wants to set up shop here. All this despite the state of the economy.

For years, restaurants have come and gone out of the building at 6317 Market Street. Now, another young entrepreneur is giving it a try

“That location’s got some history, you know, there’s a lot of negativity to it to me. I try to take a postive outlook on it,” Leo Andrades said. “The building just has a Brazilian steakhouse face. When you look at it you’re like, that is a Brazilian steakhouse.”

Andrades is partnering with the owners of a Brazilian steakhouse, known for its endless servings of grilled meats on large skewers, in Myrtle Beach. Together, they will open a restaurant here. With menu prices hovering between $19 and $35, it isn’t cheap.

“The restaurant has the ability to do well in Wilmington, but you’ve got to have a niche,” Andrades said. “You’ve got to have something to offer the people, either an experience a culture. There’s got to be something, you can’t be your average bar and grill.”

Are high-end businesses taking a risk in this climate? Economists say we’re not stagnant right now. Things are actually looking up.

“It reflects the fact conditions are improving,” UNCW Senior Economist Woody Hall said. “We’ve got a long way to go to get back where they were. We may never get back to the way we were. I think what you’re seeing is an increased willingness to spend.”

Meanwhile, work has been underway for months at the future site of a Whole Foods across from Independence Mall. It’s another high-end business coming to the area.

Whole Foods capitalizes on its natural and organic food selection; healthy options that usually cost a bit more than your average grocery store chain.

City planners say businesses like these point to good things about our area.

“I think it means the economy is OK and there’s a interest for these type of businesses to be in Wilmington,” Wilmington planner Ron Satterfield said.

In December, Trader Joe’s also met with the city’s Technical Review Committee about building at Oleander Drive and College Road, but nothing else has happened since then.

Harris Teeter is also expanding its store across from the new Whole Foods. The store in Hanover Center is adding about 6,000 square feet.

Categories: New Hanover

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