CAPE CHARLES, Va. (WAVY) – Business owners and local leaders say they hope the recent flurry of new activity will help attract even more tourists and year round residents to town.
In the last year alone, 14 new businesses have opened up shop in Northampton County’s largest community.
On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam participated in a golf cart parade down Mason Ave. and made nearly a dozen stops to cut ribbons and take photographs with business owners and members of the community.
“People need to realize that small businesses and startups across the Commonwealth – that’s the backbone of our economy,” said Gov. Northam.
Tim Abraham, who owns Tim’s Place and Peach Street Convenience, brought his two businesses and 33 jobs to town in June.
“Cape Charles is the happening place now,” said Abraham. “I thought I was going to do good here. I didn’t realize I was going to do this good.”
After nearly 15 years of homestyle cooking at the Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, he says he brings a loyal following with him to Cape Charles.
“Everything is fresh,” he said. “Our specialty here is fried chicken. We’ve had the same recipe since 1984.”
Cape Charles Brewing Company also brings 30-plus jobs.
Mark Marshall and his family opened the craft brewery in June with the help of a $500,000 low interest business loan from the Virginia Housing and Community Development Corporation.
“That was a shot in the arm for us. With a multi-million dollar project, financing is everything,” said Marshall. “We chose Cape Charles because of the vibe that’s going on here – the richness, the character, the history of the town.”
Christopher Marshall, a partner in the brewery, says business is already 20 percent above projections for the month of July.
New housing is also popping up around town, including new lofts and apartments under construction as part of a mixed-use development on Mason Avenue downtown.
Marshall calls the area a “gem” that will hopefully draw large crowds from states to the north and the Hampton Roads region to help the surge in new business flourish even during the winter months.