Local News


Downtown businesses worried about foot traffic

Posted at 10:44 AM, Nov 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-14 13:44:14-05

Small business owners in downtown are having to set up shop somewhere else, all because they say, they're losing money and losing customers in the Container Park.  

Action News spoke with three tenants, some are still inside the park, others have been evicted.  All of them talked about their struggles to being clients to the third floor.  

"A lot of people don't come to the third floor because everything is on the bottom floor," says Janaya Joseph, the manager at Blowout Dollhouse.  "The foot traffic is slower."  

Eric Healy with Monocle Optical said he was given an eviction notice, after a lack of customers forced him to get behind on his rent.  

He was originally given until this weekend to pack up his shop, something that he says, he worked so hard to build.

He says, as a small business owner, he can't even afford to pay the fines, and has set up a GoFund Me account to help out with the costs. You can find the link here.  

Container Park has since given him a 4 week extension, and told him they would work with him on marketing the third floor.  

Another shop, Blue Raven Boutique, left about a week ago, to set up shop in California, where she hopes they will cater more towards small businesses.  

According to their website, downtown's Container Park is filled with boutique retail shops.  That means most of these retailers are small businesses.  

Tenants say, some of the rules are hard for smaller businesses to follow. For example, shops are fined if they close their doors during park hours.  

"We do mobiles, so we go to people's hotel rooms and do their hair and blowouts for them, so sometimes we do have to leave and then we'll put a notice of how to get in contact with us, so I think if we just had some more leeway with that," says Joseph.  

On top of the lack of advertising, and fines for closing doors, tenants say the park's elevators don't always work, forcing customers to find their way up the maze of stairs.  

There was a morning meeting on Friday to discuss the complaints, and Joseph is hopeful that future projects already in place can help drive traffic to the third floor.  

"We need more advertising on the bottom floor, we did talk with them about that and they are willing to work with us, so it's just advertising to let everybody know that we're here," says Joseph.  

In a statement to Action News, officials with Downtown Project said:

"Since opening nearly two years ago, Downtown Container Park has welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors, including more than 24,000 strollers.  

As a small business incubator, we're excited about small business Saturday on November 28, and the start of the holiday season. We've planned a variety of fun events for the entire park, including Santa's arrival, arts and crafts activities throughout the day, special promotions, and a family movie night on Small Business Saturday.

Additionally, we're looking forward to a birthday celebration to mark our second anniversary on December 5, and throughout the holiday seasonal we'll feature weekend visits from Santa, holiday family movies on the lawn, and more."