Opinion

More bright spots

Let’s take a look back at some good news popping up in Durham this past week.

One item that caught our eye might seem rather minor, but it’s another marker of how downtown Durham is continuing to become more and more a full-service environment. Morrisville-based dry cleaning company Fresh Dry Cleaning plans to open a location in the Bull City Business Center.

The business center is just a block from the One City Center tower under construction in the heart of downtown. “I was looking for a place with foot traffic,” said Fresh owner Dawn Paige.

Foot traffic definitely has been building downtown, with more and more residential units and a surging number of downtown workers. That traffic has been creating a climate for more and more retail to supplement our wide and expanding variety of bars and restaurants. And we’re getting a fuller range of basic services -- the dry cleaning kiosk joins grocery stores, for example, both in the center of downtown -- Bulldega -- and just on the far western edge of downtown, the Durham Co-Op Market.

And speaking of downtown, Dorian Bolden, whose Beyu Caffe has become a popular downtown jazz club by evening and power-lunch and power-coffee venue by day, talked with The Herald-Sun’s Zachery Eanes this past week the eight-year-old venture’s success and his views of how it helps create a sense of place.

Last year, the business moved a couple doors down from the rented space in the Snow Building where it began to a space Duke alum Bolden bought. Owning his space would help ensure Beyu’s longetivity, Bolden said. With downtown space increasing more slowly than demand, rising rents can increase pressure on businesses that lease their locations.

Bolden, who is African-American, also talked about his view of how Beyu can help addressa growing concern that a rejuvenating downtown maintain diversity that has historically been a hallmark. Downtown Durham Inc.’s new master plan stresses the need to stay focused on diversity, and the topic has been discussed at local government meetings.

“I am a firm believer that what has separated Durham from any other place, and the reason we call it Dirty Durham, is diversity,” he said. “I am hoping new companies coming to Durham like it for its authenticity and its grit, and work hard to maintin diversity in the workforce.”

We value the commitment of Bolden and other entreprenuers remaking downtown -- and striving to retain both its historic demography and iconomic building stock, a city with a strong future honoring its past.

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