If you haven't visited in a while, you might be surprised to learn big things are happening in downtown Dartmouth.

Dozens of news businesses have opened in the last two years, and more are on the way.

Entrepreneurs say the timing is right for small businesses to succeed in the area, where a business renaissance is happening.

“There is this really interesting community investment,” said Emma Adamski, the co-owner and chef at a cafe.

Even on a rainy Easter Monday, there are visible signs of prosperity everywhere you look.

“I think it's about location and the kind of entrepreneurs we have down here,” said Tim Rissesco of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission.

What once was a dying downtown core is once again thriving.

“It's creating a destination that people want to visit,” Rissesco said.

There have been 27 new businesses to set up shop in the last two years alone, all prospering in a commercial environment saturated with community appeal.

“When you go to the counter at one of our stores, it's the shopkeeper that serves you,” Rissesco said. “She's the owner. And then a lot of the products they sell in stores are being made by makers that live in the area.”

Some business owners are even working together.

“It’s a loose partnership in the sense of one entrance,” said Ian Lawson of Brightwood Brewery. “Cider on one side and beer on the other side.”

Down the street at her café, Adamski says the timing is perfect in downtown Dartmouth for small independent businesses to thrive.

“I would say it probably has a lot to do with the population density growing in the area,” said Adamski. “A lot of new developments and condo buildings and apartments going up.”

The demand for amenities is always increasing and the cost of doing business for many of the shops is much lower than it would be in downtown Halifax.

“Because the rent is so inexpensive here, commercial rent, it's a really great opportunity for small business owners to pursue their dreams here,” Adamski said.

Those dreams are quickly turning to reality as owners and customers alike cash in on what Dartmouth's new downtown has to offer.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Paul Hollingsworth.