MARION S.C. (WBTW) — New businesses and restaurants are flocking to Historic Downtown Marion.

Leaders at the Historic Marion Revitalization Association said within the last year, Marion has had 17 ribbon cuttings. More than ten of them were in the historic district.

Leaders at HMRA said a couple of years ago there were more than a dozen vacant spots in the historic district. Now the executive director said there is only one rental spot available.

Bleu’s Sports Bar & Grill owner Shakera Davis said she chose this spot in the historic district for many reasons. One of them being this area holds some history for her family.

“We actually chose this particular location because this is the first place my fiancé and I met,” Davis said.

Davis said besides her history, she wants her establishment to be a place people can listen to good music, watch sports and have a good time.

Davis said the recent boom in businesses coming to the historic district is good for the area.

“I feel it will actually give us more travelers to want to come to Marion, to experience the different opportunities that we do have down here,” Davis said.

Bringing more people to the historic downtown area is something HMRA leaders said they’ve been working hard to do.

The executive director said they have grants for businesses to get things like new signs and fresh paint jobs, which she says may be appealing to new business owners.

“You have to create an atmosphere where people want to come and spend their money, whether that’s wanting to come to open a business or whether that’s you wanting to come and shop on a Saturday, you have to create that atmosphere, so I feel like with HMRA we really been able to help make that possible,” Taylor Newell, HMRA executive director said.

In the next month and a half five new businesses are expected to open in the historic district.