If you’re interested in the future of downtown Sanford, then mark your calendars for an important meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 9.

As a youngster growing up in Sanford, Dylan Bashore used to ride his bike to the library during the summer.

“Downtown had no life,” Bashore said. “The library was the biggest thing going on.”

Things have changed substantially since then. Downtown has a thriving nightlife and a blossoming art scene. Bashore, 28, and his business partner Robert Turner, 31, plan to contribute to the changing face of downtown life when they open their brewery and tasting room, Inner Compass Brewing Co., in the fall of 2015.

A popular Lake Mary restaurant wants to dump its current city in favor of relocating to downtown Sanford.

Lonnie'sOwners of Lonnie’s Fusion Cuisine (Website | Facebook), which serves “American food with an Asian flair,” are serious enough about the move to Sanford that they have obtained financing to rehab a building on Palmetto Avenue and have hired architects and engineers to draw up preliminary plans for the renovation.

Rob Hawkins
Rob Hawkins recently purchased the building at the northwest corner of 2nd Street and Park Ave. He plans to spend $150,000 renovating the property and open a barbecue restaurant.

Rob Hawkins is an unassuming man. But don’t let his calm demeanor fool you: He’s a man on a mission to rid downtown Sanford of blight.

Hawkins is the owner of Insurance Risk Services, a 35-year-old company that provides field underwriting support for the insurance industry. More importantly, he is the owner of three buildings in the 100 block of Park Avenue.

His most recent purchase is the long under-utilized gas station/bus terminal building at the northwest corner of 2nd Street and Park Avenue.

It’s back to the future for downtown Sanford’s newest business.

Rabbitfoot Records Coffee Lounge plans to open Friday, March 7, and sell records – the vinyl kind that require a turntable.

“”We’re not selling CDs. This will be an old-fashioned type record store,” says Rob Wallace, co-owner of Rabbitfoot Records.