Downtown businesses see growth in 2011

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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When Marie Muscat turned 50 years old, she decided she needed a change of direction. She quit her job as a legal secretary in Burlingame, packed up her belongings and moved to Roseville to pursue the dream of owning her own business. In August, that dream became a reality with Reinvent Clothing Boutique and Consignment on Vernon Street, a location she chose because of its potential in what could become a vibrant downtown. Muscat wasn’t the only person with that vision. In fact, 2011 was a year of growth and change as many new businesses chose to call Vernon Street home. Both the Roseville Theater Arts Academy and Stand Out Talent moved in to revitalize Roseville’s downtown theaters. New restaurants such as The Place, offering authentic Italian fare, Rustic Grains and Extreme Java Jungle Café added to downtown’s culinary offerings. Boutique stores such as Reinvent added to the downtown area’s shopping options in 2011. All of these additions beg the question: Is downtown Roseville beginning to see new life and realize the ultimate goal of becoming a vibrant cultural and community center? Scott Alvord, president of the Downtown Roseville Merchants Association and owner of A Dash of Panache, thinks so. “We are on the verge of a population boom down here and it is going to be really good for the businesses,” Alvord said. “It’s becoming more of a destination.” Michael and Moneka McDermott, owners of The Place at 211 Vernon St., said they chose to open their Italian restaurant downtown because they saw the area’s potential to become like many other charming downtowns found throughout the country. “Every town has a main street,” Moneka McDermott said. “It’s very much a central part of the community and the history of the community, and that’s what we felt here on Vernon Street.” Muscat said she sees Vernon Street transitioning into a place where more and more people are coming to shop and hang out. “I’m seeing a lot of great possibilities with this street,” she said. “That is the reason I came here.” Muscat said she has seen two new businesses open up on Vernon Street in the last five months, and she hopes to see more in the coming year. “I’m looking forward to the empty buildings on this street being filled up with shops and restaurants,” Muscat said. “They have the Fountains, but this is an area with a lot of old charm and character.” Alvord predicts that 2012 will be one of the strongest years downtown has seen in about a decade. Thirteen projects in the downtown and Old Town areas were approved in August, including the creation of a town square and amphitheater, changes to pedestrian bridges and infrastructure improvements. The projects are expected to be completed over the next three years with an estimated cost of $37 million. The town square is expected to be completed this fall, Alvord said. “They really want arts and entertainment to be the focus of Vernon Street and I think if they can push forward with that, the sky could be the limit,” McDermott said. Sena Christian contributed to this report. Toby Lewis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.