Women business owners are thriving in downtown Cairo.

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CAIRO, Ga. (WALB) – New businesses continue to pop up in downtown Cairo.

Emily Connell Umanzor, Cindy Long, Whitney Brown are new downtown business owners. All three are women and opened their doors in 2021.

Punky’s Owner Long opened her doors in April 2021. She is from Central Florida. Long wanted to help her recreate what she loved about her hometown.

“Where I come from, everybody eats. “The more you go downtown, the more people come, and if they’re not stopping here, they’re stopping somewhere else, but at least they know where we are,” Long said.

Long has billiards and food for parents and children.

Brown owns a delicatessen/bakery downtown called Cairo Diet. Being in a small town, she said, it’s important to support each other, and that’s what all the businesses that open up do.

“We’re involved in the community. I know a lot of people here, they know me. They come in and shop with us. They share their business with us as we share our business with them.” Brown said.

Brown was a culinary instructor a year ago, now hiring her former students. She said new businesses like hers expand options that small towns often don’t have. She has options for diabetics or people who are gluten intolerant and don’t necessarily have a place to go.

Umanzor owns another new business. Through her non-profit work in Honduras, she brings art and shares it with Cairo.

Umanzor opened its doors thanks to the loan the city received. She was able to fix up the storefront with the money.

First and Broad Pizza is rebranding from Home Slice, but will remain in Cairo.
First and Broad Pizza is rebranding from Home Slice, but will remain in Cairo.(WALB)

“There are a lot of things that are available to small business owners in Grady County that I don’t know about. So it was a great opportunity for them to give us the ability to do this,” Umanzor said.

She is optimistic about her business and the success of her other ventures.

The new one is the throwback.

First and Wide Pizza is a new restaurant coming to downtown Cairo where the old train depot is located. The owners are taking their small shop, Home Slice, and expanding it into the train depot.

Grady County Tourism Director Shelley Searcy said the building has history for Cairo.

“That’s why even the train depot Cairo stopped. “Because historically, we’re a city because we had a train depot,” Searcy said.

That is why it is important to keep the same building. First and Broad has its eyes on opening in October. Searcy said this is another example of Cairo’s success story.

“People want to do things. People want to shop, people want to eat, people want to go out and have a nice dinner and maybe drink,” Searcy said.

Grady Central, Dance Studio and Gate 16 Pizza are two other new stores that have popped up.

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