'Growing tremendously': Bars, restaurants opening at incredible rate in Clayton as town booms

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Monday, August 21, 2023
Boomtowns: Bars, restaurants opening at tremendous rate in Clayton
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"There are so many people moving here every single day -- new rooftops going up every single day. I just definitely wanted to be a part of that."

CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Clayton's food scene is thriving and driving booming growth in one of the fastest-growing areas in North Carolina.

The owners of Main Street Beer and Wine said residents have been knocking on the door wondering when they're finally going to open and officially join Clayton's thriving culinary scene.

"It is an exciting time and it's fun to be part of a town that has rallied around itself," said Main Street Beer and Wine Co-Owner Ashley Techet.

"This area is growing tremendously," said Main Street Beer and Wine Co-Owner Olena Milovanona. "This new population just needs more things. It needs more things to do or places to meet, more restaurants to try -- more variety."

The shop is holding its grand opening Friday.

"We love this community. Everybody has been extremely friendly and very welcoming," said Milovanona.

SEE ALSO | Hillsborough is booming and business owners, town leaders work to maintain vibrancy

Like much of the Triangle, Hillsborough has seen rapid growth over the past dozen years. Now the goal is to make sure the town's long-standing artistic and historic ethos isn't diminished.

Entrepreneurs are working overtime to make sure all those people and their money stay local.

Clayton's population is exploding. Census data shows it shot up more than 70% from 2010.

Five-time James Beard semifinalist chef Scott Crawford was one of the first big names to move into downtown Clayton.

Corina Rice Knott has lived here for years and wanted to be a part of the action. She left her job in sales and opened a provisions shop this past March.

"We do lots of lunch caterings," she said

Her business has taken off thanks to new clientele.

"There are so many people moving here every single day -- new rooftops going up every single day," Knott said. "I just definitely wanted to be a part of that mix and just (give) people an option that they didn't have to drive all the way into Raleigh to have a nice meal."

SEE ALSO | South Durham's growth leads to need for new schools, houses and mall expansion

While parts of Durham such as downtown are going through renewal and revitalization, on the south side, there are entire neighborhoods going from the ground up.

Flowers Plantation keeps expanding and the developer is embarking upon another big project.

The Waterfront District is in the planning stage. The mixed-use development will have restaurants, a hotel, condos, and other retail spaces.

The Copper District is simultaneously being developed also as a mixed-used space.

"(It's going to be) almost like a North Hills (or) Fenton type area, which is going to change the fabric of Johnston County where we're going to become a destination," said Clayton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dana Wooten. "The growth here has just been insurmountable over the last 3 years."

SEE ALSO | Airport credited as major 'economic driver' for Franklin County's booming population growth

Franklin County's population is growing and county leaders point to Triangle North Executive Airport as the economic driver for much of that growth.