I’m sure I’m not alone when thinking about how long the first month of the year has been, and that one thing many of us cannot wait for is warmer weather.
And it’s not just about having more opportunities to put on shorts, get outside and enjoy fun times at the park. It’s about how the city and many businesses are prepping for warmer weather.
One of my bigger assignments this week was breaking down a list of all the new businesses that have opened in Columbia over the past year, which was both fun and a bit exhausting. That’s mostly because once again the city has proven its ability to thrive in innovation and entrepreneurship despite what’s going on in the world, which is a good thing.
But one aspect of it that I would consider most exciting is what some of these businesses are aiming to accomplish over the next year.
A lot of them have their sights set on creating a better atmosphere for outdoor gatherings and events where people can get out of their houses and be social with their friends and neighbors. Places like Loosewheels food truck, who found its home in an alley beside Briarworks pipe factory last year, is a good example.
Owner Marcus Malone told me during our interview last year that the spring of 2022 would mean a chance to build out the Loosewheels Alley he created to offer live music, outdoor dining and more.
The Dotted Lime owner Paul Jensen, who this past week hosted a soft opening of his new business venture, the Cranky Yankee, also has similar plans to create a more outdoor family-friendly atmosphere at the former Nolan’s BBQ spot on East 5th Street once we enter the second quarter of the year.
It’s a good common theme that a lot of local business owners are sharing, and falls in line with The Columbia Arts District’s master plan, which pushes for more gathering spots and places where outdoor get togethers can take place. I think we can all agree that outdoor options are highly beneficial not just for people but for businesses and are the best way to socially interact, while we’re still dealing with this COVID pandemic.
Having outdoor events will also be a great way to see how the city will evolve over the next year. There’s an opportunity to create new events, fundraisers and provide citizens with another option in how they choose to spend their Friday night.
Sure, a lot of the anticipation includes one’s ability to have patience, but if there is any indicator to keep hope alive, it’s that the time for warmer weather and opportunity will be here before we know it.
Therefore, we must do our best to simply knuckle down and wait in hopeful anticipation for the time being, which really isn’t so hard when you think about all the good things that are yet to come for Columbia.
It’s also a pretty good feeling when you know there is something to be excited about, and after all, the anticipation is half the fun.
Jay Powell is a reporter for The Daily Herald. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JayPowellCDH.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Herald: Business talks, growth makes me ready for warmer weather