ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Now that the weather is warmer, downtown retailers are hoping business will also heat up.
The goal right now, is to keep people downtown. That’s why more than a dozen businesses are working together to cross promote. For example, if we stopped into Minglewood to buy something, employees will tell us about a nice place in the area to grab coffee, or a sandwich.
It’s the latest push from the group “Shop Downtown” which requires stores and restaurants to stay open from 9-5 on Saturdays. Organizers want our trip to the heart of the city to feel more like an experience by having us stop by different shops. We’re told about half of the store fronts in the area are empty, although some owners say that’s a good thing considering several offices have moved upstairs.
“Cross promotion is really valuable because it shows my customers and others that there is a lot more going on down there and they can make a day of it, come and have lunch and go shopping. It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Karen Elyea, owner of Minglewood.
Rockford’s City Market opens at the end of the month. Owners are hoping that will bring in more business.
A developer from Urban Equity says he’s working on a multi-million dollar project to fill several store fronts. He’s dealing with a legal battle on one of the properties before it can be sold to a wood-fire pizza place.