CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It started with a tweet asking a staple restaurant in Charleston to relocate to Goose Creek.
Martha Lou’s recently closed after 37 years in the Holy City.
“The tweet was really about the comment the previous person had made about another restaurant closing down in the Charleston area for whatever reason,” Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib said. “We were just pointing out that while restaurants are closing down in Charleston, we are certainly open for business and would love for them to look to relocate here.”
The mayor and his economic development team are targeting businesses and encouraging them to move to the area because they believe the city ripe for development.
“Goose Creek is a highly educated, high earning, highly diverse and a very young community. Our median income is higher than Summerville’s. Our median income is not as high as Mount Pleasant’s, however our median age is 33 and theirs is 39,” Habib said. “Our income is only going to grow as we move forward.”
To grow business, the mayor is taking a two-pronged approach. First, get the word out by using social media, traditional advertising and maybe even a few targeted messages to entice businesses.
“We have incentivized the redevelopment of the Highway 52-176 corridor to really save investors a significant amount of money if they come in and are willing to redevelop those areas,” Habib said.
The second prong is to stabilize existing businesses, especially those who have taken a hit from the coronavirus. They are doing that through a new program.
“That’s where the Kick Start the Creek Program comes in, where we have committed a pot of money and partnered with the Lowcountry Development Corporation out of Charleston,” Habib said. “We have partnered with them for our businesses to seek out loans for anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000 so we can support our current businesses.”
This money is specifically designed to help businesses that have fallen through the cracks of other support programs like the Paycheck Protection Program.
“A small loan of $10,000 might be enough to get you three months of rent somewhere and get you the operating capital you need to get you through until the economy picks back up,” Habib said.
There is an application process that will be handled by the Lowcountry Development Corporation before any money is handed out. One step of the process is making sure the businesses have already tried financial assistance through other state or federal programs first.
As for the invitation to help relocate Martha Lou’s to Goose Creek, it is too early to tell if the family is considering the city for a new location. Last week, Lillie Gadsden, daughter of owner Martha Gadsden, said she was interested in restarting somewhere, but she was unavailable for comment for this story.