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Local business boom hits South Elm Street shopping center

Local business boom hits South Elm Street shopping center

Last Drop Tavern at 508 S. Elm St. Suite 101. Last Drop is three-month-old bar and grill that specializes in pizzas made inside a wood-fired oven. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer

Local business boom hits South Elm Street shopping center
December 03
13:29 2013

Matt Wood / Copy Chief

In a small, tucked away strip of restaurants on Elm Street, Prince Kanu rings up a customer with a myriad of groceries at North Texas African Market.

“The different cultures in Denton means there’s a variety of demand,” he said. “I’d say it’s a good place for business.”

Prince Kanu is the son of the owner of the store, Joseph Kanu. The business opened Oct. 19 at 508J Elm St.

North Texas African Market is one of several businesses in Denton that has opened shop around Elm Street as part of a local business boom.

Assistant professor Whitney Peake works in the UNT College of Business in the department of management. She said that an increase in business is visible in several areas of Denton.

“The business climate in Denton appears to be growing ‘friendlier,’ as we see local businesses popping up across Denton,” she said. “We’ve seen a good deal of growth in the downtown area, around UNT’s campus, out on Loop 288 and on the north side off University [Drive].”

One of the new business owners is Rick Reid, who opened Last Drop Tavern at 508 Elm St. on Aug. 21 this year. He said he provides something different to Elm Street with the pizza his pub offers.

“Going around Denton, looking at the businesses and the services offered, I noticed there weren’t any wood-burning ovens anywhere,” he said.

When he started his business, Reid said Elm Street lacked diversity in what it offered. Now, however, he said business in the area is expanding.

“Someone bought a block off Locust and is getting ready to build apartments there,” he said. “So we can tell there’s a lot of growth coming.”

A third new business in the area is the Irish Boozer at 508 Elm St., which opened in August.

Peake said local business benefits both the consumers and business owners of Denton.

“Generally, local businesses are owned and operated by people who live in the community and spend their money here,” she said. “This generates reinvestment in the community and strengthens the performance of other local businesses.”

As the number of local businesses increase, Peake said it would benefit the local economy.

“Local business owners have a vested interest in seeing the community’s economy thrive and grow, because a stronger local economy will also improve their performance,” she said.

Peake said that the College of Business and UNT benefit from local business, and that they work with businesses to help offer opportunities to students.

“As local business numbers increase, we have more opportunities to partner with them,” she said. “This is an exciting chance to engage with Denton businesses and help an important part of the local business community.”

Kanu said Denton’s diversity is a key factor in the opening of businesses such as the African Market.

“It’s a small town, but a lot of people from different places stay here, and they like to explore different types of foods,” he said.

Business growth in Denton is well known, Reid said, with news of it reaching as far as Dallas.

“With the mall being purchased, there is a lot of buzz from Dallas about Denton,” he said. “I have a few friends in Dallas looking into opening places up here.”

Reid said with the attention Denton is getting, it would only help businesses and the city more.

“I think Denton’s got a great future,” he said “There’s a lot of focus on Denton right now, which is great.”

Feature photo: Last Drop Tavern at 508 S. Elm St. Suite 101. Last Drop is three-month-old bar and grill that specializes in pizzas made inside a wood-fired oven. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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