Vibrant spaces help define a city’s unique sense of place. Inside and out, they’re well-designed and alive with activity, embracing new ideas to create one-of-a-kind experiences, products, and services. Put simply, they’re the places you can't wait to tell your friends about.
The program Vibrant Spaces℠ was an initiative by the Downtown Norfolk Council, in collaboration with digital agency Grow, that offered business owners the chance to jump-start their street-level businesses in Downtown Norfolk with $20,000 and half off rent for two years. The strongest applicants were well-designed, embraced new ideas, and created one-of-a-kind experiences, products, and services.
In December 2015, the first signed leases and matching grant selections were selected. We look forward to welcoming the new businesses to Downtown Norfolk and seeing the renewed vibrancy our existing business selectees will soon be revealing. Meet our Vibrant Spaces selectees:
Lamia’s Crepes, 401 Granby Street
A Parisian-style crêperie being launched by a French chef and her partner offering delicious, freshly created crepes. The business will make the most of the smallest space in the Vibrant Spaces program, featuring a crepe-making station in the front window and small, cafe-style tables on the sidewalk. Customers passing by will be able to see and smell the crepes as they are made to order.
Prince Ink, 433 Granby Street
A handcrafted screen-printing business is moving and will be expanding their service offering, creating a uniquely vibrant retail presence with a service business as a backbone. In the front window, they’ll operate a 100 year-old letterpress machine. Between the retail and production areas, they’ll create a wall of reclaimed windows, allowing visitors to watch the production process while they visit, whether it is to shop or for one of Prince Ink’s many-planned industry events.
Muddy Paws Downtown, 400 Granby Street
A social, self-service dog wash and pet supplies store will fill a gap for downtown’s growing residential (and pet) populations. The location was perfectly suited for this business, as a “dog walk” is planned next door, and the owner plans to activate both the indoor and outdoor spaces. They will offer quality food, treats, and accessories for both dogs and cats. Soon to come are “yappy hours” — social gatherings for pet owners to meet one another and enjoy a glass of wine.
Brick Anchor Brew House, 240 Granby Street
Brick Anchor Brew House will open later this year in more ways than one. Featuring large, accordion-style doors, the entire storefront will open to the street and will connect to an outdoor dining area. Everything about Brick Anchor’s appearance, from the signage to the color selection and even awnings, has been chosen to honor the building’s past while looking towards its future.
Work | Release, 759 Granby Street
Work | Release is already proving to be an iconic NEON district cornerstone, and they’re further activating both Granby and Olney Streets with a unique approach to outdoor dining. The additional seating will help them cater to both the casual diner and the late night crowd. Work | Release also added beautiful new signage that further defines their presence in the district.
The Hurrah Players, 112 Wilson Avenue
The Hurrah Players will continue to bring new life to the NEON district by adding a lively facade to their new home at 112 W. Wilson Avenue. One highlight is the inclusion of a roll-up garage door exposing the scene shop. The facade is part of a massive renovation of the entire building, in which they’ll add new classroom and studio spaces to accommodate more students and help activate the entire block.