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Gainesville celebrates growth in downtown
Home to latte art such as the monkey, left, and the rosetta, Inman Perk Coffee has received the Golden Nail Award, an annual award presented to 13 new and expanding businesses in downtown Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Investment in new and renovated projects in downtown Gainesville topped $7.5 million in 2008, an increase of $3 million over 2007.

The milestone was honored Thursday night at the annual dinner of Main Street Gainesville. The 13 businesses were presented with the Golden Nail Award, which is presented annually to new and expanding businesses.

The largest single project was Chattahoochee Bank and Trust, which completed its new bank building in October.

"This is good news," said Joe Burnett, executive director of Main Street Gainesville. He released figures showing the businesses contributed 80 new or retained jobs, eight new businesses, three expanded businesses and two property acquisitions.

Guy Ettinger opened Inman Perk Coffee on Washington Street about six months ago and has found a niche in downtown.
"We completely gutted the place and tried to make it as green as possible," Ettinger said. Some of the materials were reused, while others such as the bamboo wall panels are environmentally friendly.

Public relations executive Sammy Smith acquired the building next door to the space he had rented for a number of years. Smith remodeled the building at 302 Spring St. to house his company, Rainmaker and Associates.

Other relocations included Brad’s Grill, which moved from a site on Thompson Bridge Road to a building on Bradford Street. That also is the location of Shuler’s Great Outdoors, which moved from a nearby downtown site.

Jeff and Donna Worley reopened The Collegiate Grill, a landmark Gainesville diner that had been shuttered for a time. The grill, at 220 Main St., has stuck with its longtime trademark menu of hamburgers and fries.

Other recipients included:

  • Elmo’s Italian Kitchen, 109 Bradford St.
  • Re/Max Advanced, 107 Bradford St.
  • Ted’s Pro Music, 118 Main St.
  • Daily News Bistro, 118 Bradford St.
  • Alter Ego Kids, 200 Washington St.
  • Atlanta Union Mission Thrift Store, 328 Oak St.
  • Holiday Inn Lanier Centre, 400 E.E. Butler Parkway