Norwood eyes multiple business expansions

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, October 3, 2018

By Jesse Deal, for the SNAP

The Norwood Town Council discussed plans for various business acquisitions and expansions at its regular meeting Monday.

Plans include the opening of a new Mexican restaurant and the re-opening of an establishment by the owners of what was formerly Milano’s Italian Restaurant in Norwood.

According to Town Administrator John Mullis, the vacant building on the corner of Whitley Street and U.S. Highway 52 beside the police department will be used for the new Mexican restaurant.

“The folks who own that also own the Mexican restaurant in Locust, Oakboro and Rockwell [and] have a manager in training for Norwood,” Mullis said.

“They are moving forward and are working with a new architect,” he added.

“They cannot wait to get in Norwood and put their pick-up window in because they don’t have a pick-up window — they know the lake traffic will drive that business.”

As for Milano’s, the business had to previously relocate to Mount Gilead because the building sustained time setbacks from fire damage. However, owner Amy Hatley is looking at her next options at getting back in Norwood.

“They have signed a lease with a new tenant that’s going to open up a restaurant that’s probably going to serve breakfast,” Mullis said. “It’s under contract and I’ve verified that with both the landlord and tenant.”

“She’s hoping to be open by the first of November, and it’s called Gigi’s,” Mayor Pro-tem Linda Campbell added.

The council also mentioned the future of a building at the corner of Ray Lee Street and U.S. 52. In the past, it has been used as a marketplace but a new owner with different ideas has recently purchased it.

“Things don’t move as fast as we would like sometimes, but when you look back at it, you have a new fire station, a new town hall, three or four new businesses and other people looking — things are starting to happen,” Mullis said.

“Our foot is just now touching one; we haven’t even gotten to two, three, four or five, and that’s what our intent is,” he added. “There’s a niche for everything. In the restaurant world, you may not have the chain brand but you can have successful family-owned restaurants and that’s what we prefer.”

Mullis spoke about the council’s decision to buy and sell a building at 140 N. Main St., affirming that what appeared as a real estate move has turned into the possibility of three business openings. The property owner is discussing his ventures with the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Commissioners Robbie Cohen, James Lilly, Wes Hartsell and Betty O’Neal each made mention to the positive direction they believe Norwood is heading in, despite the occurrence of some disinformation.

“We’re constantly hearing rumors about us wasting money on the new fire station,” O’Neal said. “We have a beautiful fire station next door, but Norwood taxpayer’ dollars did not create that.”

They concluded the meeting by approving a cost estimate of a panel box of a generator at the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The motion was supported by the entire board.

The Norwood Town Council will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 15.

Jesse Deal is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.