Along with selling books, Flyleaf hosts events at the bookstore, schools and in partnership with local organizations.
Matt Gladdek, the executive director at the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership said even newer businesses like the Purple Bowl, the Gathering Place and Brandwein’s Bagels have found success because they build community through collaboration, such as events and fundraisers for local groups.
Spring Council, co-owner of Mama Dip’s Kitchen and daughter of founder Mildred “Mama Dip” Council, said support from customers was vital for the restaurant’s survival during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customers found new ways to show their support, such as using curbside pickup and buying the restaurant’s merchandise and take-home products, Council said.
“We look to our community, the people who have sort of embraced us all these years, and just to know that they’re out there and coming back to the restaurant and supporting us feels really good,” she said.
Mama Dip’s Kitchen has been open since 1976, and Council said it has created a family through customers who are reminded of their homes and connect through the restaurant's southern cooking.
“The people that came in the restaurant and the folks we really connected with socially, they sort of became our family and our friends,” Council said.
Despite the support and love for long-standing staples, there is still a turnover for local businesses in the Town. Gladdek said it can be difficult for businesses to balance serving guests from both UNC and the local area.
Local businesses have also been hurt by rent increases in the area and the dwindling effects of the pandemic, Gladdek said. He added that there has also been explosive growth in other areas of the Triangle, pulling away tourists and shoppers from Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
As the area develops and grows, more chain restaurants and businesses have moved into Chapel Hill and Franklin Street within the past decade.
Stores like Target and Alumni Hall have moved into the bottom of Carolina Square, and fast-food chains like the upcoming Raising Cane’s and McDonald’s are becoming more common.
Ramesh Dahal, the owner of Momo’s Master on Columbia Street and Basecamp on Franklin Street, however, has opened two restaurants within six months of each other.
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Basecamp took over a storefront previously occupied by Jed’s Kitchen, which opened at the end of 2020, but closed earlier this year.
Dahal said Basecamp is a unique restaurant that does not compete with other businesses on Franklin Street, which adds to the business's success.
It is often difficult for businesses with a smaller amount of spending money or businesses with a targeted customer base to stay open, Gladdek said.
He added that it is important to look at the entire community — both students and residents — and appeal to both sets of people.
Gladdek said creating a community that is desirable for all customers is something that sets successful local businesses apart. He said that local small businesses often do well because they know the community and provide for its needs.
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Eliza Benbow is the 2023-24 lifestyle editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as summer university editor. Eliza is a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and creative writing, with a minor in Hispanic studies.