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Downtown Longview: Home to businesses with a wide appeal

By Jo Lee Ferguson
Aug. 30, 2017 at 1:15 p.m.
Updated Aug. 30, 2017 at 1:15 p.m.


The people who work at Silver Grizzly Espresso are likely to greet Gary Ford by name when he walks into the coffee shop in downtown Longview. Same thing at Deb’s Downtown Café.

That’s the kind of atmosphere that a walk from the parking lot into a big box store doesn’t offer, says Ford, director of pricing for Network IP, on Tyler Street in downtown Longview, on the same block as those two restaurants.

He’s lived in Longview most of his life, and worked downtown for 14 years. He’s seen downtown when it wasn’t on the upward slope it is now – with new businesses creating new interest in the city’s heart. Downtown Longview today is home to restaurants, shopping, museums and reconstructed, landscaped streets and sidewalks. (Some work is still underway on street reconstruction.)

“You can’t recreate just the community that’s down here,” Ford says. “You walk down the street, you see people you know…. It may not have always been that way, but it is now. It’s heartwarming.”

Ford also is the chairman of the 100 Acres of Heritage Advisory Board. Longview years ago named its downtown area “100 Acres of Heritage,” in recognition of the original 100 acres that O.H. Methvin deeded to the Southern Pacific Railroad for what would become the city of Longview. The city’s downtown area is, today, a part of the Main Street America program, and the advisory board provides local input for that program.

Melida Heien, Longview’s Main Street coordinator, says a thriving downtown embraces the past while moving forward.

“It’s the one place of true authenticity in your community,” she says. “You’re not going to find what you find downtown anywhere else. You can’t recreate that historical layout, and if you do it’s just going to end up looking like a mall or Disney World. This is where it started, not just here, but any town where you visit. This is the place where it all started.”

Ford says when he started working downtown there were just a couple of restaurants there and some shops. Now, there are more restaurants, more shopping, more reasons to come downtown.

“Now we have Funky Monkey that I’m staring at across the street, which is another gift shop,” he says, while sitting in a booth at Silver Grizzly. Silver Grizzly is across the street from the Oil Horse Brewing Co. “I think we’re in a really exciting time with all the buzz that’s going on down here. The new business we’re sitting in right now and the one I’m looking at across the street have really brought a lot of energy and excitement down here and kind of turned people’s perceptions around down here, or just made it known that downtown’s back on the rise.”

Deb Bolton, owner of Deb’s Downtown Café, also describes downtown as a place where “everybody knows everybody.” It’s “more personal,” “more family.” She expected the atmosphere would continue to improve as street work is completed.

“It’s growing,” Bolton says. “I think people want to be downtown.”

Downtown Longview is home to businesses with a wide appeal.

“If you have an interest in arts, craft beer, good coffee – it’s a walkable place…” Heien says.

“The fact that we have three museums in a town this size – that’s huge,” she adds, referring to Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Gregg County Historical Museum and Longview World of Wonders hands-on children’s discovery center.

Heien and Ford note more improvements are planned in downtown Longview. Ford’s advisory board, for instance, continues to work to make Heritage Plaza an even friendlier place for special events and music festivals. The organization installed a stage, for instance, in the downtown park that tells Longview history.

Also, Heien said a plan the city of Longview recently adopted that includes downtown Longview calls for an emphasis on housing, and she expects the city will begin reaching out to developers to help bring more mixed-use developments to downtown Longview.

“I see our downtown area kind of expanding, from the just the 100 acres to several hundred acres,” she says.


RETAIL

    Savvy Sisters

    Downtown Flooring Gallery

    Hopscotch for Children

    • 105 E. Tyler St.
    • (903) 758-2753

    The Wig Center

    • 106 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 753-8225

    The Golden Door

    • 108 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 753-2907

    Heartisans Marketplace

    George Preston's Antiques

    • 205 N. Center St.
    • (903) 753-8041

    Emily Rae’s Boutique

    ABC Auto Parts

    Funky Monkey Floral & Gifts

    Horaney’s Feed Store

    • 301 W. Methvin St.
    • (903) 753-3661

    Maness Furniture

    Shattered ER

    Tatum Music Co.

    Best Buy Beauty Supply

    • 209 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 757-6677

    The Red Door Consignment

    • 423 N. High St.
    • (903) 234-1412

    Methvin Street Antique Mall

    Longview Flower Shop

    • 701 E. Methvin St.
    • (903) 758-7541

    Trejo’s Bridal Boutique

    • 703 E. Methvin St.
    • (903) 553-9393

    Betty’s Antiques

    • 414 E. Cotton St.
    • (903) 753-8204

    Johnny’s Custom Hatters

    • 317 E. Cotton St.
    • (903) 753-4600

FOOD AND DRINK

    Lil’ Thai House

    Hick & Frog Bistro

    • 108 E. Tyler St.
    • (903) 212-7778

    Bon Temps Bar and Grill

    • 115 E. Tyler St.
    • (430) 625-7734

    The Arc of Gregg County Downtown Coffee Shop

    • 101 E. Tyler St.
    • (903) 234-9119

    Silver Grizzly Espresso

    Oil Horse Brewing Co.

    Deb’s Downtown Café

    • 103 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 234-2823

    Pig Trail Inn

    • 100 S. Center St.
    • (903) 230-9870

    RMC

    High Street Donuts

    • 210 S. High St.
    • (903) 653-4855

    Backstreet Bar and Grill

    • 214 W. Methvin St.
    • (903) 758-6160

    Wicked Kitty Saloon

    • 217 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 234-1909

    The Tuscan Pig Italian Kitchen

    • 401 S. High St.
    • (903) 651-1833

    Edible Art

    The Brewery

    • 510 W. South St.
    • (903) 238-8655

    The Cace Kitchen

    • 415 N. High St.
    • (903) 212-7720

    Hunan

    • 420 N. High St.
    • (903) 757-9137

    Hot Dog Express

    • 106 E. Marshall Ave.
    • (903) 753-8081

    Pho Vietnamese

    • 417 N. High St.
    • (903) 234-1600

    Grown Folks Club

    • 812 E. Methvin St.
    • (903) 261-2153

SERVICES

    Bombshell Hair Design

    • 208 N. Green St., Suite 100-A
    • (903) 553-0378

    Salon Pink

    • 204 N. Green St.
    • (903) 236-3622

    Inspire Photography by Hannah

    • 125 E. Tyler St.
    • (903) 236-2566

    The Posh Princess

    • 110 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 445-2869

    Master Travel

    Phine Salon & Apothecary

    Desert Tanning Co.

    • 106 S. Center St.
    • (903) 758-0880

    Guys & Gals Beauty Shop

    • 106 S. Center St.
    • (903) 757-7408

    CS Cutting Co.

    Salon Phoenix

    • 500 E. Methvin St.
    • (903) 522-2051

    Sam Smead Photocreative

    Texas Cleaners and Laundry

    • 201 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 753-1177

    Texas Tire Exchange

    • 202 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 753-6692

    Big 5 Tire and Auto

    Lobo Tire

    • 311 N. Sixth St.
    • (903) 758-1512

    Floor Medic

    House of Pain Old-Fashioned, Hard Core Gym

    • 311 W. Tyler St.
    • (903) 738-4676

MUSEUMS/PERFORMING ARTS

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