Recruiter works with realtors to fill empty store fronts in downtown Florence

The Florence Downtown Development Recruiter worked with a team of realtors Wednesday morning to try to fill the empty business spaces. (Image Source: News13's Kiahnna Patterson)

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The empty store fronts that line North Dargan Street in downtown Florence could soon be filled with new businesses. The Florence Downtown Development Recruiter worked with a team of realtors Wednesday morning in hopes that the real estate agents would bring their clients downtown.

The ‘Downtown Possibilities Tour’ hosted commercial and residential realtors from the Pee Dee and Myrtle Beach. Downtown developers say there are 14 available spaces—three office spaces and 11 store fronts.

Nell Folkens, real estate agent and broker-in-charge Folkens Real Estate, says the tour was eye-opening.

“I had no idea there were so many buildings and opportunities downtown that were available,” admits Folkens.

She plans to show clients the downtown area and highlight the restaurants, hotels and condos all within walking range.

“Most of the units that we visited today were under construction and the possibilities there look amazing,” says Folkens. “It’s a very exciting time for downtown Florence.”

Downtown Development Recruiter Bob Sager says going into the empty store fronts offers a better understanding of how far downtown has come.

“The reaction kind of spoke for itself,” says Sager. “When you saw the people that were like I was at one time amazed at what’s happened here in downtown Florence.”

Florence Downtown Development coordinators say in 2011 the downtown area had 44 empty store fronts. Now, there are only 11.

Sager hopes realtors start promoting the area to potential investors.

“Whether it’s their clients that are interested in moving here or buying a home, that they are the brand ambassadors for downtown Florence,” hopes Sager. “To let them know what the opportunity is here.”

Realtors on the tour asked questions and offered suggestions, like adding more housing options to the area.

“People want to be where the action is going on and that’s downtown Florence,” said Sager.

In addition to working with the realtors from Wednesday’s tour, Sager says he is also working with businesses from across the state on opportunities to move to downtown Florence.