The past year has welcomed a handful of new businesses to Bexley.

The past year has welcomed a handful of new businesses to Bexley.

Development director Bruce Langner said Bexley is an attractive place for business owners --both retail and offices -- because of foot traffic generated by existing businesses.

In 2008, about 10 businesses opened their doors within the city limits, including Charm, a children's clothing retailer on South Drexel Avenue, the Bexley Coffee Shop on North Cassady Avenue and Jeni's Ice Cream in the Gateway development on East Main Street.

"I think they come to Bexley for different reasons," Langner said. "The Charm owners just found that to be a really good location because they get a lot of foot traffic. Jeni's wanted another location where they weren't located yet."

He also said the city offers a few incentives for small-business owners.

This fall, city council approved an ordinance to offer an incentive grant to business owners who employ five or fewer workers who make $12 or less per hour. The October vote changed the ordinance from limiting the incentive to owners who employ fewer than 10 employees.

Rachel Hedrick, manager of the Bexley Jeni's Ice Cream location, said business has been good at the company's third ice cream parlor in the Columbus area.

"The reason they chose Bexley was because there was such a need for it," she said. "When this space came open, they went for it."

Hedrick said Jeni's offers such a different product from Graeter's Ice Cream and Johnson's Real Ice Cream that there hasn't been too much competition between the three East Main Street ice cream parlors.

"People come here to get the stuff they like, and they go to Johnson's and Graeter's to get the traditional flavors," she said.

Paulette Sullivan, who co-owns the Bexley Coffee Shop with her husband, Sean, said she thinks Bexley has been the perfect place for her business, which opened in July.

"My husband and I moved to north Bexley about a year and a half ago and thought that it would be a good place," she said. "Cassady is a main artery. This area just seems like it needed a kind of boost."

Langner said he hopes more businesses will choose Bexley in 2009.

Currently, Bruegger's Bagels is in the process of opening next to Penn Station on East Main Street.

"We've had a lot of places looking at Main Street," Langner said.

He said there are about 10 retail and office spaces open on Main Street.

Langner also hopes the area across from the current Gateway development on Main Street will be developed.

Plaza Properties, which owns the North Gateway site, also owns the undeveloped South Gateway area across the street.

"We are still looking for a development at that site," Langner said. "It creates another really great anchor on the other side of the street."

Nick Vollman, the vice president of commercial leasing with Plaza Properties, said there are no plans to develop the South Gateway site in 2009, but the company is actively looking at possibilities for the space.

"We have no short-term plans," he said. "With today's financial market, it's a little difficult."

Langner also hopes business owners consider empty spaces on North Cassady Avenue such as the vacant Sunoco station, which was put up for sale over the summer.

He also said ideas have been floated about a possible bed and breakfast, which would bring in revenue for the city through a bed tax.

"Everyone stays at the hotels by the airport," he said. "I see the bed and breakfast concept working better, because I think it's difficult to get a hotel to locate in this area."

Bryan Savage, a real estate agent at Continental Realty in Columbus, said that when he looks at placing a business in Bexley, he examines the demographics and needs of the community.

"Bexley is kind of a fickle market," he said.