After several slow years, the small community of Coulterville in northern Mariposa County is in the midst of a renaissance, with at least nine businesses either opening in the past few months or about to open.
"I think it all started with our John Muir Festival in the park last year," said Joy Kitchel, office manager of the Coulterville Visitor Center.
She said several people were talking at that event about how they needed more local businesses, and now it's happening.
Deborah Foreman and her daughter, Magnum Godfrey, opened Coulterville General Store at 5006 Main St. about two weeks ago.
"All of a sudden, lots of people are opening businesses," Foreman said. "It's mostly people who own their buildings and can afford to survive the winter when business is slow."
Godfrey and her husband, Scott, built the building eight years ago with
an apartment upstairs and a real estate office downstairs. Then the
economy went south, and they weren't selling real estate.
"One day my daughter and I decided we should open a grocery store
and keep the prices down so locals can enjoy it throughout the year,"
Inside the store is another business, KJ's Smoke Shop, where owner Kevin Keane features a variety of tobacco products.
Teresa Kelley and Jerry Brown are co-owners of the century-old
Johnny Haigh Saloon building next door to the Hotel Jeffery at 5009-B
They had an antique store in the building for five years, then
decided there was an unmet market for a saloon after the closing of the
Hotel Jeffery. They decided to bring the Johnny Haigh back to life.
Brown completely rebuilt the saloon, and they made it home-base for
the Coulterville Claim Jumpers Old West re-enactors, who serve hot dogs
and Polish sausages from a food cart in front of the saloon Saturdays
and put on mock old-time gunfights.
The saloon offers beer, wine, soft drinks, hot drinks such as
coffee and hot chocolate, and lots of bar food, including pizza,
buffalo wings, poppers and peanuts. It's the kind of place where people
are welcome to throw their peanut shells on the floor.
The historic Jeffery Hotel next door is expected to reopen in the
next few weeks with new owners, who are in the midst of an extensive
clean-up and renovation project.
Louis Bickford, proprietor of the Trading Post at 5011 Main St.,
has a variety of jewelry, gold nuggets, western hats, American Indian
gift items and other gifts.
Speedy Repair is a new auto mechanic shop at 5011 Broadway in what
is often referred to as the old Frosty building. Owner and chief
mechanic Richie Ventura said it is a full-service shop except for smog
testing. He plans to eventually add a reupholstery shop.
Nina Mimnaugh, owner of Sierra Flowers, used to operate out of her
home. She now has a flower and plant shop at 5012 Main St.
In addition to flowers for weddings and other special events, the
store features a variety of cut flowers, colorful bouquets and indoor
potted plants. She plans to add outdoor plants soon.
The flower shop shares a building with the newly relocated
Coulterville Visitor Center, 5010 Main St., which is now open seven
days a week for the summer season.
Tucked in the same storefront is Mary Lou's Cup of Brew. Proprietor
Malynda Morey hopes to open by the end of June. In addition to premium
coffees, she will feature ice cream, cold slush-type drinks and scones,
cupcakes and pastry treats by A Catered Affair, based in Lake Don Pedro.
The mix of old and new includes places to eat, places to stay and
resources such as the Northern Mariposa County History Center.