HANFORD — After years of seeing empty buildings and storefronts, downtown Hanford seems to be going through a transformation.
“We’ve kind of had a surge of businesses interested in opening in downtown Hanford,” Michelle Brown, executive director of Main Street Hanford, said.
Brown said it’s a great time for downtowns everywhere, not just in Hanford. She said she believes people are really starting to see the uniqueness of downtowns and the benefits of shopping small businesses.
Several changes can be seen in downtown Hanford, including these new businesses:
- The Ivy Boutique & Home Décor, 201 N. Douty St. – specializes in women’s apparel and also carries gifts for any occasion.
- Habitat for Humanity of Kings/Tulare Counties ReStore, 415 W. Lacey Blvd. – sells donated items like cabinets, doors, windows, plumbing, electrical supplies and more. Proceeds go toward the organization's home ownership programs.
- Board & Brush Creative Studio, 207 N. Irwin St. – this business will celebrate its grand opening on July 26 during Thursday Night Market Place. Board & Brush Creative Studio is a place for creating unique wood decor projects from scratch in an instructor led atmosphere.
- Hop Forged Brewing Co., 106 W. Seventh St. – this will open in the fall and be the first brewery located in downtown Hanford. Hop Forged is a family-run business and each batch of beer is hand crafted in small batches right here in Hanford. The taproom will serve its own in-house-brewed beers, starting out with up to 10 options, with hopes to expand that selection to 20 within a couple of years.
Another business that has opened is Finer Thingz, located at 331 W. Seventh St. Owner Jeanette Tackett said the shop has been open since June 1 and things are going well so far.
Finer Thingz shares a space with Tackett’s other business, a print shop called J.H. Tackett Marketing. Tackett uses her printing skills to personalize and customize gifts, like mousepads, frames, cups, cutting boards and pretty much any other thing you can think of.
“The idea is to be able to create and customize and give a unique gift,” Tackett said, adding her products can work for any person or organization.
Tackett, who owns the building her businesses are in, said she loves being a part of bringing downtown Hanford to life.
“I think it’s a great place to be and grow,” Tackett said. “We just love being able to serve and putting smiles on people’s faces when they get that custom gift is priceless.”
One existing downtown business, Fulton Cycle Works, relocated from one downtown spot to another, moving from the Vendome building to a permanent location at 119 W. Seventh St.
Speaking of the Vendome building, three new businesses will open there soon:
- Lab Artistry, 215 N. Irwin St. - offers services including lash extensions, lash lifts, body waxing, brow shaping, micro blading and make-up for special occasions.
- Employee Benefits, 221 N. Irwin St. – this business specializes in health and life insurance, has been around for 34 years and is relocating to downtown Hanford.
- Beautifully Damaged, 219 N. Irwin St. - specializes in hand-painted furniture and vintage home décor. Instructor-led paint classes for all ages will also be offered in the store.
When all three businesses open in early August, Brown said the Vendome building will be completely filled up.
Brown said she has spoken with lots of interested business owners and the only issue is finding the right location for that particular business.
“We’re running out of spaces for people,” Brown said, adding she hopes new restaurants will start to pop up as well.
As far as vacancies are concerned, Brown said 100 W. Seventh St., 118 W. Seventh St. and 210 W. Seventh St. are still open.
Brown would love to see businesses locate in these vacancies and said when they do, Seventh Street will be completely filled up, which has not been the case for many years.
Brown said she hopes this new surge of businesses will bring even more positivity to downtown Hanford and convince people to make their way to the area to shop.
“These business owners are part of the community,” Brown said. “We need to spread the word and show our support by shopping small.”