EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Downtown Evansville is growing again. But the area has not always been buzzing with restaurants and boutiques.

Kristy white owns Piece of Cake with her sister. They’ve been downtown for 19 years, and she says it used to look a lot different.

“When we originally were down here, it was like banks and a few antique stores,” she said.

In fact, White says when they first moved in, they didn’t know if their business would survive.

“The day we signed our lease for a building, USA Today came out with a report and Evansville was in the Top 10 Endangered towns in the US and we were like ‘oh no what we are going to do.’ But things have obviously changed since then,” she said.

Fast forward to today and two new hotels recently opened their doors, following at least 14 new businesses in the past 6 months. And a half dozen more are expected to open this spring and summer.

“On Main Street we had Emerald Design open. It’s a floral design and it’s almost farm to vase. All the flowers are grown in Vanderburgh County,” said Joshua Armstrong, President of Downtown Evansville Economic Improvement District.

Armstrong also says a cluster of new restaurants are also expected to open soon, including Samuel’s in the next few weeks. It’s a smash burger restaurant with a patio and full bar.

Laurie Byers over at River City Kitty Café says she has seen many businesses move downtown.

“I would say it just has been growing and we’ve seen new shops pop up and Main Street has really come alive in the past five years,” she said,

And coming off of two years of a pandemic, Armstrong says the timing could not be better.

“People are fatigued by the pandemic and are ready to get out and try new things and have new experiences,” he said.