RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- WalletHub ranked Raleigh the 11th best place in the country to start a business, and people are doing just that.
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance found that since the start of the year, nearly 30 small businesses owners are taking the plunge, opening doors to customers in a time of transition.
Anthony Piazza already owns five restaurants in Johnston County and is now embarking upon a project in the City of Oaks. His newest location can be found on the ground level of the AC Hotel on Glenwood South.
Piazza feels the expansion is a strong investment.
"Even on Memorial Day when we expected everybody to be gone for the weekend, we had a pretty tremendous amount of foot traffic," said Hippo Wine Owner Sorena Dadgar.
The foot traffic is changing.
Cellphone location data analyzed by ABC11 shows the resurgence peaked at 64 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2021, but now it's about half.
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance recognizes there's a shift. It's down on the weekdays because of hybrid schedules, but up on the weekends.
"Food and beverage sales are above what they were pre-pandemic," said Will Gaskins.
Piazza is ready to tap into those sales and hoping to open his restaurant in the fall.
"I'm doing a lot of work myself, coming in here and pushing equipment in and hustle myself," he said.