After three years of vacant storefronts, the Blackberry Creek shopping center on Orchard Road is coming back to life.
Blackberry Creek is the home of , , T-Mobile and , but for the past few years, its middle stores have sat empty. But no longer. Last Friday, a new tobacco shop named Smoke Plus opened its doors, and it will soon be followed by two new businesses and an expansion of Rosati’s into a sit-down eatery.
Smoke Plus is owned by Muhammed Habib, who was in the restaurant business until recently. He was inspired to open Smoke Plus, he said, after talking to several friends with multiple tobacco stores. His shop sells cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, and a variety of candy, soda and energy drinks.
And, he said, he’s able to sell his tobacco products cheaper than Walmart, due to his lower overhead costs. His space is about twice as large as he currently needs, but he’s hoping to expand and diversify soon.
Smoke Plus is just the first of the new Blackberry Creek businesses to open up, according to Charlene Coulombe-Fiore, executive director of the . The new Cash For Gold store, just south of Jenny Nail Spa, is almost ready to open, she said, and there is a tenant for the space between that and Smoke Plus.
Additionally, Rosati’s Pizza is in the process of into an empty space to the north of its current location. The new restaurant will be about 1,800 square feet, and seat 90, according to owner Arturo Carlos. It will also provide a space for live musical performances, Carlos said.
He hopes to be open by the summer.
When all of those businesses have opened their doors, the Blackberry Creek center will be 100 percent occupied, Coulombe-Fiore said.
“It took us three years to do that,” she said. “Not bad, considering the economy.”
The MEDC has organized a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Smoke Plus at 2079 Orchard Road for May 10, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.