DANVILLE, Va. – Katherine Carter is the proud owner of The Dog-Eared Page bookshop in Danville.

As a kid, she used to love going to bookstores with her parents and she wanted to re-create the magic.

“It was really great memories and I wanted that for my own kids and my friends’ kids and just me, in general,” said Carter.

The Danville native decided to open up her bookstore on Main Street in August of 2021. She hosts a weekly book club and a monthly children’s story time. One day she hopes to host famous authors.

Carter is not alone in her success. Since 2017, 60 businesses have either opened or expanded in the heart of the city. Carter said that’s a far cry from the Danville she grew up in.

“What’s funny is growing up in Danville, you didn’t come downtown,” said Carter. “Once things started getting revitalized, it’s just been such a beautiful thing to witness.”

That revitalization is thanks – in large part – to the River District Association (RDA), a nonprofit dedicated to revamping the city.

“If you haven’t been to downtown Danville in a while, things look completely different now,” said Diana Schwartz, the association’s executive director.

To date, there’s been $50 million in public investment from the city and $250 million in private investments to help reimagine Danville.

The association offers business courses and grants for façade improvements, existing businesses, or startups.

“It really is about creating an opportunity to help people make their dreams come true,” said Schwartz.

Carter went through RDA’s Dream Launch Bootcamp, took a 6-week business course, and won a $25,000 grant. She said the response from the community has been humbling and she’s glad she gets to be part of bringing Danville back to life.

“It just shows me the dream that I had was equally felt by the community,” said Carter.


Article by Lindsey Kennett