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New downtown Flowery Branch pizzeria, beer shop could open later this year
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Alejandro Castelan scoops away soil from a wall Wednesday afternoon in downtown Flowery Branch as site grading begins at the future site of Peyton's Pie Company along Main Street. The building will also feature a craft beer shop.

With weather going from rainy to rain-free, Karen Ching hopes she can open Flowery Branch’s newest downtown retail site — one featuring a craft beer store and a pizzeria — by November.

But completion is tagged to whether the dry “weather holds out,” said the South Hall businesswoman, who owns the site at Main and Mitchell streets.

“We’re definitely (opening) before the end of the year,” Ching vowed in an interview last week. “Once the shell of the building is up, (construction) will go really fast.”

Earlier this year, she had “a lot of setbacks due to the weather.”

“Summer rains kept us from grading, and we had to do a little at a time once the mud was exposed,” Ching said. “Also, we had to cure the concrete for the foundation. Then (Tropical Storm) Irma hit, which stopped us for a week.”

Grading and backfilling work are now well underway at the site, which once held a 121-year-old, ivy-covered, two-story clapboard home that was beyond repair when Ching bought it.

She later tore down the structure; the site has been vacant for more than a year.

Planned for the new building is a Peyton’s Pie Company, a pizzeria that Nicholas St. Clair, owner and chef at Antebellum restaurant, plans to start.

A craft beer store, Beer Me, also is planned in the building. The name of the business is based on the expression “Beer me,” or give me a beer.

“I had to have the name explained to me,” Ching said, with a laugh.

The building also will feature four office spaces that already have leases.

“It’s pretty easy to rent office space around here, I have found out,” Ching said.

She also has office space at Liberty Candy Co., her two-story building across Main Street that houses Ching’s throwback candy store.

“My longest vacancy rate was 36 hours,” she said.

Overall, Ching is happy with the resurgence of growth in downtown Flowery Branch.

She expects that to continue as Flowery Branch opens its new City Hall off Railroad Avenue. That project’s completion has been targeted for December.

The migration of city offices on Main Street, including the police department, to the new building as it opens will potentially open up new retail spaces.

“The more I hear people talk, the more I hear people interested in the police station,” a rectangular brick building that sits alone at the corner of Main and Church streets, Ching said.

“Once (the city) moves, this (area) will be awesome,” she said.

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Site preparation begins Wednesday afternoon at the future home of Peyton's Pie Company on Main Street in downtown Flowery Branch. The pizza restaurant will also feature a craft beer shop. - photo by Scott Rogers