ALACHUA ‒ The storefronts along Alachua’s Main Street have undergone a bit of turnover in recent months, with more changes still expected. Some of the changes include the opening of new ventures and the closure or relocation of others.

Soon-to-open at 14906 Main Street, Alachua, just two doors south of Conestogas restaurant and immediately south of Kelly’s Kreations Gifts and Flowers is The Seed, also known as The Mustard Seed Collection. The company touts “antiques, paints and things.” The shop is relocating from its existing location in Ocala, Fla., where it specializes in a variety of unique gifts certain to meet the needs of any season and any special occasion. The company also has a robust online presence, including a vast online store featuring many of its wares. The Seed also sells Annie Sloan products, a popular supplier of furniture paints. Owners of the shop had initially hoped to open their doors in Alachua by Feb. 1, but due to unforeseen delays, the new soft opening is set for Feb. 20.

Also, soon-to-open is Good Life Station, Smart City Café, located across from Main Street Sweets, the unique concept promises to deliver an engaging, technologically rich experience for visitors while also offering food served up by talented local chefs and bakers. Located at 14933 Main Street, Alachua, the cutting-edge concept occupies the former space of the now-closed Main Street Pie. Located adjacent to Good Life Station is Pink Threads Boutique at 14925 Main Street. Pink Threads Boutique opened in spring 2023 and sells fashionable apparel and accessories. The boutique caters to women but also sells a variety of apparel for men as well.

The newest addition of food offerings on Main Street comes from Codfathers Seafood at the corner of Main Street and Northwest 148th Terrace. Specializing in seafood, Codfathers has a little something to satisfy a range of palates. Codfathers opened at the beginning of 2024 and is still filling out its menu items to meet local tastes.

Located across Main Street from Codfathers is Mother Lode on Main, a retail shop selling new items at discounted prices. Specializing in gifts, baby and child goods as well as home goods, Mother Lode on Main turns over a steady supply of new items, including dinnerware, toys, bags, small appliances, outdoor furniture, as well as some clothing and footwear, in addition to much more.

At the top of Main Street is Alachua Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic that began its operations in 2021 and occupies the space that once served as Alachua’s public library, next to Skinner Park.

A bed and breakfast located in the Queen Anne-style Pierce-Bishop House at 14713 Main Street is reportedly also open for business.

While Alachua’s Main Street is seeing new life, it has seen the closure or relocation of several other businesses. Tony and Al’s Italian restaurant was reported to be closing as early as Monday, Feb. 5, though the restaurant appeared to be operating as of Tuesday, Feb. 6, while posts on social media made repeated last calls for the eatery in recent days.

Meanwhile, Harvest Thyme Café is slated to relocate to its new building in San Felasco Tech City. Construction on the new restaurant space was originally expected to be complete in February, though there have been delays. The café is expected to continue operating out of its Main Street location until it relocates to this new facility, closing its current location at 14816 Main Street.

Similarly, Better Beginnings, which was located at 14822 Main Street has already relocated to new space in San Felasco Tech City. Better Beginnings offers outpatient mental health needs, including an intensive mother/baby day program. South of the railroad crossing on Main Street, D & K rebuilders, an automotive shop, shuttered its doors in recent months.

Some of the anchor businesses on Alachua Main Street remain. Conestogas Restaurant, Bev’s Better Burgers, Lee’s Hair Boutique, Alachua Farm and Lumber, and Alachua County Today newspaper are the five longest existing businesses on Main Street, all operating for more than two decades.

Other longtime businesses include Kelly’s Kreations Gifts and Flowers, Architect Paul Stresing Associates, Custom Lighting, Amira Builders, Music Junction, Alachua Health and Fitness, Valeries Loft, Teatime Tranquility and Treasures, Computer Doctor, Alachua Flowers and Tuxedo Rentals, and Michael Turner CPA.

Like many downtowns in transition, empty storefronts also present opportunities for new investments in an area ripe for entrepreneurs with a flair for vision and revitalization. Already in the works, the Cityof Alachua will soon roll out a strategic action plan to bring renewed vibrancy to the downtown area. While the plan won’t require starting from scratch as Main Street is already home to a number of businesses, and the area holds considerable charm, there are a number of undertakings essential to transform the area into a place people not only want to go to, but also an easier place to start and maintain a business.

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