WAXHAW, N.C. -- Small businesses have been hit hard over the past few years with the tough economy, some having to close their doors. But the town of Waxhaw says their charming Main Street is making a comeback.

It's lunch time at Maxwell's Tavern in downtown Waxhaw and after opening just a year ago, the bustling crowd is like a sigh of relief to the new owners.

We were nervous at first, along with the economy tanking, we also saw a lot of businesses around here and empty store fronts so it was a scary time, said owner, Katina Balatsias.

Mayor Daune Gardner says Maxwell's was one of the first to start a new business movement in the quaint downtown.

A couple years ago we had over a dozen empty store fronts on Main Street. Last year we had seven. This year now we have two, added Gardner.

Thanks to companies like Noma Hair and Skin Salon, they opened in March after owner Angela Fortney says she's worked in Charlotte and wanted to bring the same services to her town.

Waxhaw didn't have what we wanted, what we wanted to offer, said Fortney.

It s a popular trend Mayor Gardner says they're seeing more and more.

We're seeing people connect with the small town community and connecting and finding opportunity.

Like Charlottean Bill Kniegge, who runs his small company, Wheel Jockey, out of The Mill right down from Main Street.

Fell in love with Waxhaw because of where it was and the kind of community it was and then found there were other small incubator businesses that were based here, Kniegge said.

Maxwell's Tavern has become a hot spot for locals.

It's nice to see that downtown is starting to thrive. I know it's not where it can be but at least it's starting to, said Balatsias.

And businesses say they hope more will follow their lead.

We can have good stuff, too. You don't have to drive to Charlotte to get all these amenities, noted Fortney.

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