Shantell Williams’ decision to close her cafe and open a supper club nearby has created an opportunity for Sanford’s first microbrewery.

Shantell’s closing Sunday

If you’re jonesing for Shantell Williams’ chicken and waffles, you have until Sunday to get your fill. Jan. 17 is the last day for Shantell’s Cafe, the soul food restaurant that took downtown Sanford by storm in 2013.

wops hops
Greg Piecora, left, and Peter Minelga, plan to open Wops Hops Brewing Co. in the Stokes Fish Market building on Sanford Ave.

Greg Piecora evaluated a number of places to locate his business, Wops Hops Brewing Co. Conventional wisdom dictated that Winter Park and Maitland were among the top choices.

Piecora chose Sanford.

“I love a city with personality, and Sanford has personality,” Piecora says. “We could have been anywhere, but this city has a heartbeat. The history, the people, the vibe — this place is real.”

Support Sanford Ave BizWhat a difference a couple of weeks makes.

Business owners along Sanford Avenue were upset when they learned the city of Sanford planned to close their street on March 3 for as long as four months to complete a $2.5 million streetscape project. (“City’s bumbling threatens local businesses”)

Tempers flared at times during a Feb. 25 meeting, the first in series of regularly scheduled meetings between city officials and business owners to discuss the project.