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As a purveyor of mid-century modern furniture, Chynna Luschen would have fit in perfectly with Antique Alley in its heyday. But that heyday was 20 years ago when antique shops made up the majority of businesses along the small stretch of Dixie Highway just south of Five Points.


Now the street, with just a couple shops that sell antiques, has a nickname more befitting of the mixture of the different kinds of businesses that occupy most of its storefronts – Dixie Village.

The street includes art galleries and studios, a salon, massage parlor, a gym, professional offices, a video rental store, an animal hospital, a rug merchant, a locksmith and a used car dealership. A café that sells smoothies is also in the works and under renovation.

And Luschen, co-owner of It's a Mid Mod Mad World, said she’s fine with the area’s new name. “I think it’s cute. It’s good to rename this part of Wilton Manors. I actually call this Artists Row. It’s secondary but better than F.A.T. Village. We’re thrilled to be over here. And it’s still affordable.”

But after most of the antique shops left, only a handful of businesses survived and there wasn’t much to rename for a while. “I was alone for a long time on this street. It died. There was nothing else here,” said Michael Bolling, owner of Divine Concepts, which sells antiques, clothing and other items.

Bolling has been in business on a near-empty street for six years but things remained that way as recently as two years ago when Tim Abbott, owner of Retro Video, opened his video rental store. “A lot of places weren’t open. There wasn’t much going on.” The location has always been right for Abbot though. “I love it. I like that we’re right off Wilton Drive.”

To promote what’s going on now, the Dixie Village Business Marketplace was held on March 26. Some of the merchants on Dixie Highway held open houses to showcase their businesses. “We just want people to slow down and look . . . so they know there’s a business district here,” Sterling said.

The resurgence in occupied storefronts comes right as The Metropolitan, a 179-unit apartment complex adjacent to Dixie Village, is almost complete.

Artist Rachel Henriques, who has a studio on Dixie Highway, said she’s hopeful the people who move into The Metropolitan make their way over to Dixie.

Sterling predicts redevelopment, the form of mixed-use buildings with commercial on the bottom and residential on top, will hit Dixie just as it has Wilton Drive and The Metropolitan before it. “In the next five years, we’re going to see a different business district here.”

The city’s planned $1 million improvements along Dixie Highway, funded by a grant from the state, have also begun – March 30. Henriques and her husband, Tim Hartley, hope construction doesn’t hurt business.

“It’s growing pains,” Hartley said.