CHAPEL HILL – Cameron’s gift shop is changing locations after 32 years in University Mall. It’s moving to the 300 East Main re-development space – the project that hopes to be the entertainment, dining, and shopping center of downtown Carrboro.

“We just started thinking about new possibilities—different things we could do to increase our traffic. We had heard about 300 East Main and found it intriguing so we started a conversation with them and pretty instantly felt like it was the right place for us,” Wendy Smith of Cameron’s.

The shop calls itself a local “gallery of gifts, jewelry, cards, clothing, bath, toys, and highly entertaining off the wall stuff.”

Cameron’s has been in its current space since 1987— but have been in the University Mall location since 1981.

“I grew up in Chapel Hill and I consider U-Mall my mall. When I say the mall, I’m talking about University Mall. While we are leaving, I think it will continue to thrive and remain a great place,” Smith said.

Cameron’s will most likely be the first tenant to open in 300 East Main. Smith says they hope to move to their new space by late July or early August this year.

Pattie Benedict is a partner with Main Street Properties, the developer behind the project, and she’s also the leasing agent.

She says Cameron’s was a good fit for the space because it’s been a part of the community for decades.

“From the beginning, particularly with this first phase, we have focused on targeting North Carolina-based companies and restaurants. We want them in the area,” Benedict said.

Joining Cameron’s is the Charlotte-based Hickory Tavern, a family dining and sports café. Moonlight Management LLC from Raleigh will be opening two restaurants in the development: East Main Meatball Shoppe, and a tequila and empanadas restaurants that’s still in the conceptual stages.

“I think Carrboro really does buy local and so does Chapel Hill. They appreciate unique boutiques, food-offerings and tastings,” Benedict said.

Benedict explains 300 East Main’s development will be done in three phases.

Cameron’s relocation and the restaurant openings are a part of Phase 1. Benedict says there’s a total of 18,100 sq. ft. first-floor retail space. A parking deck is also in the works, adding 500 spaces.

The original plan was to have about nine bays available for the first phase —a tenant in each space. However, because the restaurants will require more space, Benedict anticipates that they’ll have six to seven bays in the end.

She says they’ve leased-out most of the first phase spaces.

Carrboro’s first hotel– the 142-room, LEED-certified Hampton Inn & Suites— is currently under construction as well; it’s also included in Phase 1.

Click here for more information about Phases 2 and 3.