MESA, AZ — “There’s like a perception that it’s a sleepy town and it’s not anymore,” said Michelle Donovan.
Donovan, owner of the Nile Theater and Coffee Shop in downtown Mesa is helping to change that perception, taking over the dilapidated property with a vision to honor its historical past while moving into the future.
“We wanted to kind of let everybody see what we saw as patrons growing up coming here and giving it a second chance,” said Donovan.
But restoring it to its glory days isn’t cheap. That’s where the City of Mesa stepped in, providing tens of thousands of dollars in grants to businesses like the Nile to transform their facade.
“The whole building was covered in stucco,” said Donavan pointing to the building.
So, she went to work restoring its original red brick exterior, adding additional touches of tile, styling, and a new sign.
“If we had to pay for this ourselves, there’s no way we would have been able to do it, so it’s a giant gift,” said Donovan.
A gift that’s also led to more business, with the coffee shop seeing a 30% increase in sales.
“It’s more inviting for people to come in and try it out,” said Nadia Holguin.
Holguin owns Tacos Chiwas along Main Street. Her facade was updated as well.
The money she would’ve spent, instead went towards updating the restaurant's interior, an investment also paying off with added sales. It’s all part of an effort to continue the area’s revitalization. Mesa Mayor John Giles and Congressman Greg Stanton toured the updates Tuesday. Announcing another $300,000, this time through federal dollars, is heading to the program.
“The facade improvement is a big part of bringing back a very authentic, real downtown, allowing people to see it again,” said Mayor Giles.
Businesses can apply for grants through the City of Mesa later this year.