Virginia Beach business owners band together, develop the Artery District

The Artery District.png
Posted at 4:47 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 23:22:41-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's only been open about a month, but Freewheelin Bike Shop is on a roll.

"We want to accommodate all types of riders and be your local, friendly, neighborhood bicycle shop," said owner Erik Lee.

Lee is one of the newest faces to give his bicycle business a home off of Laskin Road in Virginia Beach.

The area is filled with a unique camaraderie, and it's why Aloha Snacks owner Jesse Wykle is pushing to promote it as the Artery District.

"We focus on the heart of Virginia Beach, and that's right here on Laskin Road, which is one of the main thoroughfares into Virginia Beach," said Wykle. "The roundabout branches out to 32nd St.; Laskin, obviously; 31st and 30th St."

Bringing together nearly 40 restaurants and small shops, the Artery District aims to celebrate beach culture, as represented in the logo design by Malbon Creative.

Wykle said, "The masks are off, people are ready to spend money, and we really want to focus on small business."

A block away from Aloha Snacks and Freewheelin Bike Shop, you'll find Flowers - Wayne Jones. It's a family-owned flower shop that has stood the test of time, having opened its doors in December 1972.

"The big changes we've seen is going from small town to urban living," said owner Wayne Jones. "I love what I do, and I love the people I serve."

What hasn't changed, Jones said, is the loyalty to brick-and-mortar shops like his own. When he learned his beloved Laskin Road was being coined the "Artery District," he jumped to get on board.

"People said, 'Artery? Doesn't that have to do with the heart?' We said, 'Yeah, the heart' because the arteries move outwards, and what we all do goes outwards. It brings joy and it spreads the joy," Jones said.

Just like the flowers grow in Jones' store, so does the world outside.

A new liquor store is going in across the street from Aloha Snacks, and real estate developer the Breeden Company is building high-end apartments next door.

Jones, who is excited about the development and potential for new customers, said, "There will be more people passing our front door."

Wykle said as another initiative to encourage people to move off of the boardwalk and into the streets, "We'll have a great discounted punch-card that all of these retailers and restaurants are going to be participating in to keep local business here."

The group is also in the process of becoming a 501(c)(3), which will allow them to host events and receive grant funding.

"I'd say just keep your eye on this area and we'll see what happens. It's very exciting," Wykle said.

Click here for more resources from the Rebound.