PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Downtown Panama City has been undergoing a revival for some time, but progress has really picked up steam since Hurricane Michael.
The people investing in downtown are all working as a team.
Kevin Mitchell and Brent Mcleod are two community members setting their sights on Downtown Panama City.
“It’s everything,” Mitchell said. “It is the history of it all and I think when you come so close to the center of what started everything and start to think about that and you stand here in these streets and see the businesses and hear the stories of the men and women who created them and the resiliency of these buildings and these people have withstood every time.”
The men already own individual businesses on Harrison Avenue: Panama City Hot Glass and The Press coffee shop. Now they’re working to start another.
It’s called “The Venue on Harrison.”
“One thing we are going to do is we are going to put in probably three to four permanent food trailers that will be here like restaurants,” Mitchell said.
The venue will be located next to the Panama City Hot Glass Studio.
It will also have a shipping container bar called “Cargo Bar,” cornhole tournaments, and live entertainment. They hope it will be a place for both kids and adults.
“It’s going to be a family venue,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to be something to do when the sun goes down for people to enjoy and have a good time.”
The owners of The Venue on Harrison are hoping to get the project moving by early fall and turn their vision into a reality and this isn’t the only creative idea happening around town.
Rhonda Faircloth opened “Lil Rascals” bar and billiard on August 1.
“We’re a little bit of everything,” Faircloth said. “We are a billiards hall. We will eventually be opening up our kitchen. We’ll have a small little bakery area.”
Faircloth said they are already hosting pool leagues and tournaments. She said she’s excited for the business to grow.
“We just want a loving and welcoming place for everyone to come out and enjoy the love of billiards as we do,” Faircloth said.
Both new investors say the downtown community is a family, and their growth is far from over.
“We’ve got to bring it back to here every single time it’s got to come back to the downtown,” Mitchell said.
The City of Panama City says business downtown has increased by 55 percent since Hurricane Michael, and it will only go up from there.
All of these local business owners have a lot of plans for events, so keep your eye on downtown Panama City.