Broughton is Back

Savannah’s mecca for shopping and dining has gone through its periods of ups and downs, but Broughton Street just might be on the brink of its best era yet. With new national retailers and facelifts for old favorites, Broughton is back.

In a stripped-down, soon-to-be-loft apartment just above some of Broughton Street’s newly renovated retail spaces, the unearthing of 145 years of mismatched wood, exposed brick and painted logos tells the story of Savannah’s main street’s history. 

Broughton Street made its debut in the late 1800s and quickly became known as a great commercial district. These were the days the buildings reflected the wealth of the time with detailed architectural features. Flaunting an ornate Greek and Italianate Revival style, the craftsmanship in the construction of the building generated a grand buzz for the area.

By the early 1900s, Broughton became the home of both local and prestigious national retailers. Consumers sauntered down Broughton and purchased hardware from Crawford & Lovell, products from Blumberg Brothers, and on the same trip shoppers could try on the latest fashions from Krouskoff Bros. & Company or the Baughn, Aspinwall & Ensel department stores. The businesses that began occupying the buildings on Broughton esthetically and economically attracted shoppers; especially the middle to upper class ladies who had previously traveled great distances be a part of this up-and-coming scene. 

Businesses like Globe Shoe Company became an example for how to be local and last on Broughton. Other businesses, such as Leopold’s Ice Cream, 24e, and Savannah Bee invested in the street as well. Around the same time, the celebrity of the Queen of Butter, Paula Deen, created a recipe for local and national fame and a high-end urban restaurants, Il Pasticcio, began drawing a diversely sophisticated crowd back downtown. This perfect storm of local influences created an eclectic- artsy shopping and dining experience that made downtown uniquely Savannah.  

By the late1990s, the emergence of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) allowed downtown to fully begin its artful transformation as a creative hub of the South. The investments that locals, students, and established businesses made created a boost in tourism and some local businesses began to branch out both nationally and internationally. However, this growth did little to aesthetically rebuild Broughton to its original status as a hub for commerce: an opportunity that went unnoticed and unfunded until 2013 when Ben Carter Enterprises (BCE) devised The Broughton Street Collection.

For more information of the Broughton Street Collection and what exciting shops are coming to Broughton Street, pick up the latest issue of South magazine.