Doug Ayler wants to make sure Columbia restaurants stay local and unique.
with new development, Greg Slattery wants his coffee bar to be different than chain coffee shops.
By: Justine Palis
The Central Midlands Council of Governments projects that by 2035, the population of the seven counties in the Columbia metropolitan area will increase to 1 million people.
The metropolitan area includes Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Newberry, Lexington, Richland and Saluda counties.
Businesses are worried the population growth will effect Columbia's unique look and feel. New developments in Columbia have moved towards looking like North Main Street and Bull Street instead of the Vista.
Doug Aylar owns Vino Garage on North Main Street. He says he is concerned that the incoming growth will interfere with the local atmosphere.
"My true hope is that this area of town stays independent, stays weird, stays local," said Aylar.
City Councilman Howard Duvall, Jr. says that bringing in new entrepreneurs brings life to the community.
Aylar says he doesn't want Columbia to be built up and look the same as the rest of the city. He says he wants people to get a local feel when they come into his store and other stores on the block.
"With that independent, with that local sort of retail or restaurant experience, you get a more personal experience as well," said Aylar.
And he isn't the only one.
Greg Slattery is opening a coffee shop on North Main street and wants his shop to be different than chain shops.
"You're going to get a friendlier experience, we're going to have some fun," said Slattery.
Even if Columbia is expected to see more people move into the area, local businesses are hoping to hold onto what makes Columbia unique.