RALEIGH, N.C. — The Downtown Raleigh Alliance says small business is making a big comeback.

The organization released its quarterly report which says there are continued signs of recovery, including a 143% increase in food and beverage sales compared to this time last year.


What You Need To Know

A new report says small businesses are making a big comeback in downtown Raleigh

One of the co-owners of Young Hearts Distilling says reservations are often booked up

TG Floristry opened a few weeks ago, and the owner says she’s been selling out of flowers


David “Woody” Lockwood is one of the co-owners of Young Hearts Distilling. It opened in August and is the only distillery in downtown Raleigh. The owners aren’t new to the building, in fact it has been in the Trophy Brewing family for more than a decade.

“We ran a craft beer bar and restaurant called the Busy Bee Cafe. That opened in 2009. We became Trophy Tap and Table in 2017,” Lockwood said. “Then when COVID hit, things were going fine but then when COVID hit, downtown became ghost town.”


Young Hearts Distilling was born out of the pandemic.

“A distillery was something we had always thought about over the years. We never thought it would happen so quickly,” Lockwood said. “But the opportunity, while no one was going to be in the building anyway, why not go for it?”

“We do want to be a place where you can stop in and just grab a bottle to go or a place where you can come up to the roof and have a drink after work. It’s so beautiful and off the street, secluded. Or have a great dinner,” Lockwood said.

While it’s only been a few months, they feel like customers are coming in big numbers.

“A lot of reservations, especially on the weekend. We fill up pretty quickly so people know to make reservations. But the rest of the week when we’re open we see a lot of foot traffic,” Lockwood said.

As one of the many small businesses that’s taken a risk by starting something new, he feels hopeful about the future.

“I hope we get back to some sense of normalcy in the coming months. We’re just going to handle it the best we can, and we’re thankful people are coming out and trust us,” Lockwood said.

Meanwhile, around the corner from Young Hearts Distilling, Tiera George opened TG Floristry three weeks ago.

George started her business just about two years ago. She felt like she was doing really well and outgrowing the places she previously worked, so she made the jump to open a brick and mortar store. George says her workshops are very popular, and she’s also been selling out of flowers, so she’s excited to keep that momentum going.

“I found this place and it was amazing. It was everything I wanted. I have my little garden area in the front,” George said. “I’ve been running around for a really long time, and I’m just really happy to be set and stable and have the infrastructure in place to have it functioning efficiently.”

Both Lockwood and George say that building a reputable and trusted brand is a major key to their success. They both felt that process was important before opening up a brick and mortar location.