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Changes to Downtown Monticello

February 17, 2011

Its been awhile since I’ve written about Monticello, Florida.  There has been a lot of changes over the past years.  The slow economy has been pretty hard on the city, especially downtown.  New businesses opening up have been limited while there have been several notable departures.  

The biggest loss has to be Edenfield’s Hardware.  It occupies one of the larger building downtown and with its garden center almost takes up an entire block.  I am not sure exactly when it closed, but one day I noticed the sign in the window was turned to close and it was midday.  It’s sad to see such a fixture of downtown shuttered and I hope someone comes in and reopens the store.

Also gone is Big Poppa’s Dog House. Before opening the restaurant the owner completely gutted and refurbished the Chevron station on the corner of Mulberry Street and West Washington Street.  It became a place to grab some dinner at a reasonable price.  Mason loved going there because they had hot dogs and ice cream.  They closed early last fall and I was sad to see them go.

There are also three vacant stores downtown.  The building that housed the Courtyard and Cafe Marmalade is empty along with the two that housed the tax collectors office.  Since these three empty buildings are within a stone’s throw of one another and on the main street it lends a ghost town like feel to our little city.

But enough with the closings, there have been a few new businesses opening.  The first was Wag the Dog Too thrift shop in the store front that housed an antique store.  Dollar General also opened a new stand alone store south of downtown on South Jefferson Street.  The developer did a really nice job with the property and it turned out very nice. 

It also should be noted that Gellings, Monticello Pizza Kitchen, The Brickhouse, Rio Grande, Tupelo’s Bakery, Huckleberry Creations, Mi Lady and the Rare Door continue to operate in downtown.  I hope that the economy turns around soon, allows the businesses we have downtown to thrive and new businesses to fill the empty spaces. 

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