The ‘buzz’ continues to grow in Smyrna

 

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Smyrna town manager David Hugg stands in front of Painted Stave, which used to be home to the historic Smyrna Theatre years ago, Commerce Street Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER— Sandwiched between Dover and Middletown, Smyrna has struggled to attract new economic development that would give the town its own identity.

But last year the town opened an abundance of new businesses and plans on being the ideal destination for not only residents, but for visitors as well for many years to come.

“There was a buzz around us last year,” said Rick Ferrell, the town’s economic development consultant. “We opened a number of new businesses, but I think it was of a combination of different things.

“People seemed to be informed about things that are going on here and I hope we get a chance to maintain that energy and buzz.”

Some of those businesses included The Inn at Duck Creek, The Drunk’n Baker and Blue Earl Brewing Company.

“We just want to keep the momentum going,” Mr. Ferrell said.

The town plans to open two new restaurants. One will be a Texas-styled barbecue restaurant, which will hopefully be open in the spring, said Mr. Ferrell.

The other one will be called Brickworks Brewing and Eats with plans of opening in March.

“We were saying to council that this is an example of a statewide regional player, who wants to invest in Smyrna,” Mr. Ferrell said.

Smyrna Community Hardware on 456 W. Glenwood Ave. has been open since 2008 and plans to expand as well.

“This is a success story,” Mr. Ferrell said. “This store probably would have expanded. I think it really points to the business models for some business, which is customer service.

“If you’re ready to be with a customer and really want that experience then you get rewarded for it and this is the perfect example of a business expanding for its customers.”

Smyrna town manager David Hugg III said they’re hoping to bring in Lidl USA, a German discount supermarket chain to the town in the near future.

“Lidl was announced in Middletown as well, but every indication states that they’re far along in their discussions with people here,” Mr. Hugg said.

Mr. Hugg said the town has funds from different sources to help its new economic developmental growth.

“It’s coming from all sorts of places,” Mr. Hugg said. “A lot of it is private investors. “We got $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as the funds went toward renovations for the Inn at Duck Creek.

“We have a couple grants from our business development activities. We’ve had contributions from local businesses as well. The money is coming in from many different sources.”

There are also talks of potentially having a national restaurant and hotel chain on U.S. 13.

“We can’t be upfront with the names, but they’ll be at the gateway shopping center site,” Mr. Ferrell said.

Mr. Hugg said there will be a retail antique store and photography studio located at 62 West Commerce St.

Town officials are hoping to bring an ice hockey school into the town, but Mr. Ferrell said that’s a long-term goal.

“I mean it’s a long shot, but there is an investor involved that if we can get him to come to town this year it will put some new energy back into it,” Mr. Ferrell said.

“The guy who runs this school is completely sold on Smyrna and he really likes everything. He’s done a lot of research, as to who would come on this ice and it’s really interesting.”

“It would pull from different states,” Mr. Ferrell added. “The kids that are involved in competitive hockey and the families that come with this will give other opportunities to us for our hotels.”

Mr. Hugg said he’s excited by the town’s growth.

“It’s been almost a decade of trying to get economic development to restart in Smyrna,” Mr. Hugg said.

“We’re looking at the results. All four corners have viable businesses and it’s just that buzz that we’re looking to maintain.”

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