The Loft lasts 20 years in Columbus

Over the past 20 years downtown Columbus, or Uptown as it is now called, has seen a lot of changes. Now with the new whitewater project and more people moving to the area, what do the next 20 years have in store?

The Loft owner Buddy Nelms answered, "It's the Columbus people who have come out for years and years that have made this possible for everyone to get what they need out of it."

Nelms is preparing to celebrate 20 years of business in Columbus. He started with a music lounge and bar and then opened a restaurant in a time when most businesses were closing.

"I think a lot of companies prematurely went out of business. If they would have held on a little bit longer they would have reaped the benefits of sticking in there. I know it has been really tough. We had a few slow times but we also had the best year ever last year," said Jason Gamache, the owner of PTAP in Uptown Columbus.

Gamache's business has served the Uptown area for 16 years and he says the secret to success is all about customer service. Owner of Ride on Bikes, Jason McKenzie agrees, "Instead of being dollar driven, it is all about a community effort and how we get together and pull together to do things."

Uptown business owners, like McKenzie, also say their great location along with events that draw people to their stores contribute to their door staying open, "I mean just the fact that people are here and they are downtown. When people are in front of my business, they can see what I'm doing."

When whitewater comes to town, Nelms says that will mean even more business for them, "It's just going to be more and better every day. The people coming in for the whitewater, just like the bike riders and the people who are already here, they love music, they want to be entertained, they love beer and food, and they like to hang out. We are going to provide that for them and it's a growing possibility."

To celebrate the past 20 years and to look forward to the next 20, The Loft is hosting "Broadway Boogie" on Saturday, June 2.

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