For far too long, historic downtowns lived as shadows of their former selves. Empty storefronts, quiet streets and a lack of residents characterized what previously served as hubs for what today’s trends call “live-work-play” communities. In recent years that has changed. Many historic downtowns, including Cleburne, Texas, are experiencing a well-deserved revitalization.
In Houston, the population grew from 2,099,451 in 2010 to 2,325,502 in 2018. Similar growth has been evident in other Texas towns across the state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, from 2010 to 2018, the following cities saw their populations grow more than 15%: Denton, Odessa, Austin, Round Rock, League City, Midland, New Braunfels, Pearland, McKinney, Frisco and Conroe.
In downtown Cleburne, a wealth of new businesses are attracting more people into the city proper. In the last six months, Haute Wear House, Trovato Street, Mug on the Square, Miss Minnie’s Mercantile and The Co-Op have all opened downtown. Here’s a closer look at these new offerings, plus a few more of the city’s downtown enterprises.
Haute Wear House
Haute Wear House celebrated its grand opening Jan. 4, 2020, and specializes in women’s clothing with a “chic, edgy ambiance.” With styles in sizes from 0 to 3X, the store carries today’s top trends as well as tried-and-true fashion classics. Think animal prints, lots of fringe and sparkle and a variety of accessories ranging from hats to boots.
Here to satisfy your sweet tooth with nostalgic candies from all over, Trovato Street opened in October 2019 and offers most candies by the pound. Of course, these are not your average candy bar or lollipop found at a convenience or grocery store. Instead, the store seeks to feature candies you can’t get anywhere else. And many of the sweets trace their roots back to years gone by when you actually could buy “penny” candy. There’s even a selection of sugar-free candy. You also can choose from a variety of candy gift baskets as well as candy-filled vintage tins.
Mug on the Square
Sip your favorite latte or Chai tea at Mug on the Square. This independent coffee shop features handcrafted coffees, iced drinks and blended beverages as well as fresh-baked pastries and sweet treats. A member of downtown Cleburne since September 2019, Mug on the Square also hosts several community-minded events including Coffee with the Cops, downtown shopping events and live music.
Miss Minnie’s Mercantile
This new addition to Cleburne focuses on the resale of pre-owned furniture, home décor, collectibles, antiques and more. Open since November 2019, the store contains everything from glassware and dishes to vintage jewelry to wall art and lawn art.
A resident of downtown Cleburne since April 2019, The Co-Op boutique seeks to bring vintage and local artisans together to offer shoppers the perfect addition to their lifestyles. Items include scented wax melts from Cross My Heart Scent Company, vintage and new books in Ebby’s Book Nook, hair bows from Bobbin for Bows and so much more.
J. Rae’s Boutique
Opened in October 2019, the fashion-forward J. Rae’s Boutique carries a full range of women’s clothing including tops, pants, dresses, rompers, jumpsuits and shoes. You’ll also find jewelry and accessories, candles, and gift items such as wine glasses and essential oils.
Central Station Toys
Don’t fool yourself into thinking this is another routine toy store. While you’ll find popular toy brands such as LEGO, Melissa & Doug and UGEARS, you’ll also find a selection of collectible and vintage toys, tabletop gaming and items for game nights for the kids at heart. Speaking of LEGOS, the store has a Brick Yard where kids and adults can set out to create their own original creations on the LEGO-filled tables. Opened since November 2019, Central Station Toys is also Cleburne’s newest destination for children’s birthday parties.
Breck & Co. Floral Boutique + Mercantile
Opened in January 2019, this full-service flower shop provides original or custom-made bouquets, centerpieces and arrangements unlike those found at chain floral companies. The shop often hosts floral arranging workshops, “sip & shop” evenings and other community-affiliated events.
Thrift To Gift
A mainstay in Cleburne since January 2019, this gift shop sells refurbished furniture, new home décor, clothes, gifts and more. Many items are made by local artisans and craftsmen, which often result in unique, small-batch items not found anywhere else.
Lindy’s Treats & Treasures
A part of downtown Cleburne since 2016, this business is a twist on the traditional gift shop. While you will find handmade jewelry, home décor, clothing accessories and beauty products, you’ll also discover a wealth of sweet treats like baked goods by Mom’s Kitchen bakery, gourmet chocolates and toffee. There’s even a coffee and tea bar as well as lunch offerings. And you can shop for your favorite furry friends in the Doggie Boutique and grab pet-friendly treats at the bakery.
The variety in these new shops in Cleburne creates a great mix that continues to attract residents to shop locally. According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 97 percent of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday—the day after Black Friday—agreed that small businesses are essential to their communities. In addition, 95 percent reported shopping local on Small Business Saturday made them want to shop or eat at small, independently owned businesses throughout the year.
Given these small businesses often are located in historic city centers, this is encouraging news for growing downtowns. Programs such as Main Street America also goes a long way in helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts. In fact, for 2018, local Main Street programs throughout the country saw 8,146 rehabilitated buildings, a net gain of 25,301 jobs and a net gain of 5,310 businesses.
Strong growth in downtowns results in stronger communities, thriving local economies and a healthy sense of hometown pride. This combination helps contribute to the success of cities like Cleburne, Texas, throughout the country.