A few months ago, Pleasant Grove may have seemed like a business ghost town.
But now, new businesses are buying up and leasing many of the empty buildings in the downtown area, and the city is growing and profiting."Every day that goes by gets better and better," said Jim DeGroot, who owns V&S Variety Store and will soon open a new hardware store. Several buildings that had been empty for years are being renovated and used.
DeGroot has helped that progress. He bought some of these old buildings to expand his own work and to lease to new businesses who need some help.
"Jim really wants to help downtown Pleasant Grove grow," said Craig Johnson, who opened the Perfect Pair Shoe Store in the old fire station that DeGroot had purchased and remodeled.
DeGroot did the major remodeling and then Perfect Pair leased the building, Johnson said. "It was less expensive than any other option we tried."
DeGroot said he feels there is a lot of potential in Pleasant Grove. There is a large parking area, good accessibility, good shopping hours and the businesses are becoming more aggressive.
There was some bad press a few months ago when the only hardware store in town went out of business, DeGroot said. "But, I knew it would come together."
An ice cream shop opened a while ago and an electronics company leased another of the empty buildings.
Two activities from the local recreation center, dancing and tai kwan do, grew enough that the teachers leased buildings and opened new businesses in the city.
Johnson's shoe store is more evidence that Pleasant Grove is ready for growth.
Johnson, who was born and raised in Pleasant Grove, has another shoe store in Heber City. He said he felt there was a market for a shoe store in Pleasant Grove, so he divided his inventory.
If there were only a clothing store, then people would stay in town to do both their clothes and shoes, Johnson said.
According to DeGroot, that time isn't far distant. Several people have approached him about opening clothing shops in one of the buildings he has bought.
Johnson's store is the first business in the remodeled fire station.
"It perks people's curiosity to see something going on in the old fire house," Johnson said. It is good publicity to be in an old building that people recognize.