How the Social District can be a catalyst for business growth in Salisbury

by | Jul 20, 2022 | Business Community

At the beginning of July 2022, Salisbury became the first city within Rowan County to pass a downtown “social district.” Back in September 2021, Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill that eased restrictions on alcohol in North Carolina and Kannapolis was the first city to pass the downtown social district shortly after the bill was signed. The new law allows for cities and counties to define their own social districts in which people are allowed to buy, carry, and consume alcohol outside of restaurants or bars while remaining within the designated parameters.

These social districts were passed to help grow economic vitality within the community. This, in turn, can potentially create more foot traffic by providing a destination where people want to gather, eat, and drink.

With a social district in place, it will bring that a city within Rowan County will not be passed up to surrounding areas, after all, Salisbury beat Charlotte to a social district so this gives hope that it will draw people to want to spend the day or weekend here and not just a few hours.

Social District in Kannapolis Sets the Tone

If we take a glance at Kannapolis, Kyle Lingafelt, the co-owner of Armor Beer Company, said that he has seen a boost in business since the district kicked off and especially when the weather is nice. The brewery goes through about 4,000 specially marked district cups a week. Many people come from out of town and bring friends to these areas and it’s become a destination spot.

📸 Old Armor Beer Company

Safety Concerns

I understand the safety concerns that this may present for the community but that’s also why there have been rules and regulations that have been put into place. There are designated signs at numerous points in the district and each cup purchased must be labeled with the “DSSD” sticker that identifies where the drink was purchased and the date/time.

There are currently 12 restaurants and bars that are participating in the social district, you can find the list here. Participating retail shops will have a designated “DSSD Participating” sticker displayed.

Why is the Downtown Salisbury Social District Valuable?

With efforts to boost economic vitality, Salisbury became one of the first cities within Rowan County and one of ten within North Carolina to pass a social district. This is a prime-time and wonderful business opportunity as there are current retail spaces available here that fall within the social district.

I believe this new law can be the catalyst that draws in more businesses. More specifically, businesses that can accommodate the citizens of Rowan County and bring the community together. This will keep our community continually striving. The social district gives individuals a reason to stay local instead of navigating elsewhere for entertainment.

To keep a city thriving, there must be things that will keep the people of the community interested in wanting to stay around and with Salisbury passing the downtown social district this could give more reasons to live in the city and see what’s to come.

Rowan County’s Proximity to Charlotte: The Opportunities are Endless in Rowan

According to the United States Census Bureau, Charlotte ranks as the ninth fastest growing city in the country. As growth continues, the cost of living increases, and many residents find that if you steer outside of the metro area, it gets a little more affordable. The same goes for businesses, the market becomes less saturated when you move outside city limits. The downtown social district could bring more potential businesses to the area especially for Salisbury being just a 35-minute drive up to interstate I-85 from Charlotte.


My Success Story: Starting a Business in Rowan County

My husband and I opened a food truck in Charlotte back in 2015. We noticed the rising trend but we also saw that the market was becoming saturated, so we had to think ahead. We wanted to be the big fish in the pond and not the other way around. My husband, who grew up in Salisbury, his parents own and operate a business in town. He knew he wanted to find a way to still pave a way for us while being close in proximity to his parents, to help out when needed. When Hoff’s Grill decided to relocate, we thought it was a great opportunity. We wanted to start small, much like the food truck, and Salisbury allowed us that opportunity. Salisbury has supported us. Salisbury has continued to keep my doors open. A small town did that. What’s to say it wouldn’t be the same for you?

You’ll never know if the market is right for you if you don’t believe that there is a market for you. This is my philosophy because many people did not believe that a smaller city, besides Charlotte, would be able to handle or grasp our business concept. But, with the support of the community, we recently ranked third on Yelp’s top 25 places to eat, in and around Charlotte.

About The Author

Julie Tang

I was raised in Charlotte, NC which is how I met my husband, Scott. Together we have 4 beautiful daughters. As a 2nd generation Asian American, I was raised by a multitude of entrepreneurs and own Charlotte's first Vietnamese food truck, Yummi Banh Mi, as well as a brick and mortar restaurant in Salisbury. Our best moment was when we were casted on Food Network for season 23 of Guy's Grocery Games. We were able to show the world a glimpse of how zestful life of married and working alongside each other is. I am also the owner of a permanent makeup and natural wellness studio, Revive Studio, which I opened in 2021. The business is dedicated to helping boost a woman's confidence. Any free time I have, I'm spending it with my four girls. I’m excited to be writing about the business community in Rowan County!