Clovis in the midst of a business boom

CLOVIS, California

All of the businesses in the Old Town Clovis area are either family or individually owned. There are no chain stores. That may be one reason, more people are shopping here and merchants are enjoying the benefits.

The Knit Addiction has only been open for 10 months and in that short time it's moved from a tiny space to a more accommodating larger one.

Owner Micheline Golden says the Clovis location has been a perfect place for her hobby shop. "Also because our rents are a little lower than they are in other places that aren't as friendly to our types of businesses. There are many boutique level businesses down here and gift shops and things that might not fit into a strip mall but fit so well into a historic downtown."

An advertising campaign over the holidays helped merchants even more. One store reported December sales up $10,000 from the same month the previous year.

"What merchants are telling me is that people are actually coming, who live in Fresno, who've never been to Old Town which some people think is really unusual," said Carole Lester with the Business Org. of Old Town.

The growth and prosperity isn't limited to Old Town. The dirt is turning at Clovis and Herndon in preparation for a Wal Mart Supercenter and Dick's Sporting Goods. But, a quaint quality about Old Town is what Clovis business leaders say continues to draw foot traffic. From tourists, to locals, and those just looking to browse.

"No matter how many places are built, no matter how many new, attractive shiny shopping centers are approved in the region, Old Town Clovis is always the community center," said Business Development Manager Shawn Miller.

Special events, like the seasonal farmer's market and wine walks, are also giving shops more exposure. Even though there's 10 antique shops, about as many salons, and several restaurants, bars and boutiques -- they all seem to be luring a loyal customer base.

"It's really kind of down-home I think people want to have that sense of friendliness and that sense of being able to slow down and enjoy things."

One area business leaders are focusing on now is the Sierra Vista Mall -- especially getting a new anchor store to replace the old Gottschalks.

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