The Dixieland area in Lakeland is making a comeback, and some of the new business owners there say they plan on doing their part to help.
Karen Dasher owns an antique store in Dixieland. She said she's hoping her store helps show what the area is all about.
"Some of the things that we grew up with and took for granted — it's all new to them now, so it fits in well with this area," Dasher said.
The area is known for its rich history as well as a troubled couple of years.
"When I was a little girl, my grandparents lived the next street over and it has always been kind of dead," Dasher said. "It must have been at least 60 years ago becoming kind of stagnant. It used to be a thriving art deco community."
Dasher said that's why the new business owners want to revive the historic strip of Lakeland, and they're doing it with new businesses like hers.
In the early 1900s when Dixieland was first being built, developers described it as a fashionable suburb and the surest, safest investment in Florida. More than 100 years later, new business owners say it's getting back to that.
"All of a sudden, we're getting this surge of art shops, antiques and salvage, a neat little wine and restaurant bar, coffee houses and just a lot of different things going on," Dasher said.
Lakeland businessman Gregory Fancelli said the business boom in the area isn't moving as fast as it could be. But, he said that's not going to stop him and others like him who wants to see the area grow.
"Currently, we have five different layers of government here," Fancelli said. "We do have a lot of really devoted folks that are going beyond what makes economic sense. They're really attached to the area and they're trying to do their best."
To help the area get even more exposure, Dixieland has an art festival on April 11.