The Union Recorder

June 7, 2012

New businesses add spark to downtown

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — New entrepreneurship forecasts a spirited renewal in downtown Milledgeville, as several young business owners advance fresh trends for the college and overall community markets.

Two 23-year-olds have opened businesses in 2012. Kyle Stevenson, Herndon’s Downtown and Brian Jones, Sun Studios, chose Milledgeville because of the heavy college influence. Later this month, Shannon Stuart, 24, will unveil The Lemon Tree gift and home accessory store.

All three attended Georgia universities and decided on another college town business locale. Herndon’s is an upscale men’s clothing store for the southern gentleman but does provide female options. Sun Studios tanning salon serves those even skin coat desires.

All three young entrepreneurs took the reigns on their own terms.

Having Georgia College and GMC surrounding downtown was a gigantic attraction for all three young retailers. Sun Studios and The Lemon Tree are located on South Wayne while Herndon’s occupies the quickly developing North Wayne side.

Targeting the college students’ needs is paramount. Jones noticed the recent growth and said the short walking distance from campus helps business.

Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce CEO April Bragg said Herndon’s and Sun Studios support chamber events and is proud of the business newcomers. These youthful merchants are perfect examples of the chamber initiative toward fostering an entrepreneurial environment, according to Bragg.

“I think it’s refreshing to see the energy they bring. The Milledgeville reception across the board has been wonderful,” Bragg said. “We are at a point of major growth. The downtown energy has nowhere to go but spill over to the community at large, pumping new life throughout.”

The Lemon Tree joins around five new merchants in the works.

“Downtowns are the heart of the city. It’s more cultural,” Downtown Development Authority and Milledgeville Main Street Director Carlee Schulte. “The charm and feeling is just different. The city has done a great job preserving that feel.”