Florence seeing more new businesses open in downtown


FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Downtown Florence continues to move on up with more new businesses taking over North Dargan Street.

The newest business to open its doors just one week ago is Pee Dee Bicycle Company.

Manager Dave Aguilar said the owner first opened up the shop in Myrtle Beach near The Market Common, but knew the long-term decision would be to open up in the Pee Dee. He knew there was no better place to do it than downtown Florence.

The city helped recruit them with a $20,000 upfit and development grant. Aguilar said it has been amazing to see the aggressive transformation happening in downtown Florence.

“There are places where you can have a sandwich, drink a coffee or a place to have a craft beer. The city is absolutely trying to build that culture here and I’ve seen it attempted in other areas, but this is one of the few places I’ve seen where there’s been actually a concerted effort and the city has managed to get the resources behind it, because this is not easy to do,” Aguilar said.

Pee Dee Bicycle Company is stocked with an array of different bicycles, gear and a full-service shop. Aguilar expects more progress soon, such as signage and more bikes in stock. He recently announced a partnership with the second newest business opening soon, Local Motive Brewery.

“The kind of places that are fun, where you have a drink and eat and socialize, bring traffic,” Aguilar said. “Breweries gather crowds, so I am very optimistic and I am not kidding when I say the brewery is one of the key reasons we opened here.”

That means a new way to bring people together is the first-ever social cruise rides the two businesses are putting on.

“So it’s not for the hardcore athletes cyclists. You don’t need to be super fast or own spandex,” Aguilar said. “All you need is a bike. It’ll be family friendly, the pace will be what kids can keep up with.”

“We ride our bikes to work a lot, so I think it will be fun to get people together in our community and get some exercise and then break bread together, hang out and have a beer,” said Billy McBride, one of the owners of the Local Motive Brewery.

Local Motive Brewery is confident it will bring even more people to downtown.

“We’re hanging art and all the construction is finished, and we are brewing beer. It’s really cool to see several years of planning and many years of dreams coming true,” McBride said.

That dream started as two friends brewing beer in a garage, and is turning into an entire brewery, restaurant and destination. It is just a few store fronts down from Pee Dee Bicycle Company.

“It’s really cool to be here in the afternoon and during the day, it’s delivery people and employees and what not, but after 4:30, it’s people dressed up, walking around, going upstairs to get a drink or going out to dinner,” McBride said. “It’s been awesome to see the transition of people during the day and amount of foot traffic.”

Local Motive Brewery will be open Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The owners are hiring for all positions and said to message them on their Facebook page or come inside to apply.

Pee Dee Bicycle Company will be open Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday from 12 to 8 p.m.

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