(WKTV) - Frank Elias believed in Utica's Bagg's Square before it was cool to believe in Bagg's Square.
"Oh, people did think I was crazy at the time, 'Why would you locate here?' I was thinking to myself, 'This is downtown Utica. This is main street downtown Utica. How does this not make sense?' "
Apparently it did make sense.
Elias has been roasting, selling and distributing his coffee from his current Bagg's Square location for about 12 years, with plans to possibly expand in the near future.
Mark Mojave is earning his living in Utica the old-fashioned way: His building is his livelihood.
Mojave has his business, Gerber's 1933 Tavern, on the first floor-the home of a former Prohibition speakeasy -- and loft apartments on the upper floors.
"The original floors from the 1840s, exposed brick, the original tin ceiling, that authenticity of place that you just can't find anyplace else," says Mojave.
Both say that one of Utica's oldest neighborhoods is attracting young people, families and people from just about every age group. We asked both where they see Bagg's Square five years from now.
"Simply, I think it goes back to when we started: safe clean and friendly. Build upon that platform as it's more widely understood that it is safe, clean and friendly, you'll see the private investment come in. Then the entrepreneurs will take it where it needs to be," says Elias.
"I think you'll see greater coordination both on the part of government and the private sector and all the pieces that go to making this a liveable, sustainable neighborhood," says Mojave.
"It's an exciting time in Utica."