Downtown Louisville businesses look for ways to get customers back amid pandemic, protests

Downtown Louisville businesses look for ways to get customers back amid pandemic, protests

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Businesses near downtown Louisville are looking for ways to re-gain strength during a global health crisis.

Between protests throughout the area and the COVID-19 pandemic, the businesses along Main Street are hoping consumer confidence will rise enough to bring them back to their stores.

Consumer confidence was a main talking point for the Main Street Association on Tuesday during a forum held at the Frazier History Museum.

Louisville Tourism said it’s dealing with decreased visitors, with numbers only comparable to the time following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Plus, as protests continue in downtown Louisville, damaged buildings remain boarded up. Even some intact business are keeping boards up as preventative measures.

Now, the city says those boards are coming down, at least on all their downtown buildings.

Rebecca Fleischaker, of the city’s Department of Economic Development, said Tuesday that’s in an effort to show their own confidence in the people of Louisville.

“I do want you to know that we’re walking the talk, too,” Fleischaker said, “so we want to help with an example and show our confidence.”

Some business owners expressed their concern Tuesday that things haven’t gotten back to the level of normalcy they’d hoped.

Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith represents this part of town. She said it’s going to take a team effort, between all the businesses in the area, to bring customers back.

“As I look at this room, I think the answer is right here in this room,” Sexton Smith said. “Because if we embrace it together, and lock arms and say it is about consumer confidence, then why don’t we have co-branding, co-consumer experiences?”

The city of Louisville has been operating a relief fund that should begin cutting checks for businesses next week. The city is still taking applications for grants up to $50,000 at this link.

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