PARIS, Ky. (LEX 18) — Small business closures have far out-paced grand openings across the country, leaving Lauren Biddle to worry what a post-pandemic Main Street might look like in downtown Paris.
But instead of falling in line with the grim nationwide trend, the Paris/Bourbon County Chamber of Commerce executive director said she plans to attend 10 downtown ribbon-cuttings on Friday alone.
"We saw people supporting downtown and people consistently going there and making sure they were there to support the downtown area during that time," Biddle said.
Five months ago, Ricki Rose and Sally Thorne were staring at unemployment after the bar they worked at, Rooster Brewing in Paris, shut down.
Then came the news that the bar's owner would not be reopening. But instead of looking for other jobs, Rose and Thorne negotiated a lease of the space.
Now, they're getting ready to launch Rose & Thorne Pub.
"We're a female-owned business, so heavy emphasis on strong independent women. And when you get a chance to look at our menu, you'll see we've named all of our sandwiches after strong independent women," said Rose.
The first drink will be poured on Friday right after the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
Just up the block from the pub, Whitni Snipes is putting the finishing touches on her new shop, Bourbon Boutique on Main. There's still paper on the windows, but items cover the racks inside.
"I cannot wait. I cannot wait to see outside these windows," said Snipes. "Masks aren't what we expected to sell here, but unfortunately at this time it's going to draw people in."
On the same side of Main Street, the pizza oven at Noah's Brick House was fired up more than a month ago. But the ceremonial opening here will also be on Friday.
With these new businesses arriving in Paris, it's a far different outlook than Biddle feared this spring after many businesses were forced to temporarily close.
She said she hopes it will help Paris become more than just a quick stop in horse country for tourists.
"Paris has about 40 bed and breakfasts that we offer," Biddle said. "So we want to keep those tourists here when they come here."
The bright future of Paris and prime real estate is why Snipes is opening her shop here. It's just a quick drive from her home in Cynthiana, where she witnessed a similar spirit.
"Seeing my hometown be so supportive of all the small businesses, it was really encouraging," Snipes said.
Rose & Thorne Pub is making an addition to a sign bearing "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service." At the top, it will read "No Mask," -- a change from the last time they served a drink or sandwich inside the space back in March.
They cannot wait to welcome customers back on Friday, even though things will look different.