Shops opening along 4th Street - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shops opening along 4th Street

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- East Market Street in Louisville is known as NuLu.

Now we have SoFo. It is the new branding for the redevelopment of two blocks of South Fourth Street in downtown Louisville.

Downtown development leaders have been working for several years to try to redevelop the 500 and 600 blocks of South Fourth Street.

On Monday the city celebrated with a street fair and a ribbon cutting for the opening of nine locally owned small retail shops along Fourth Street between Broadway, north to Muhammad Ali.

Forest Ramsey and his wife opened the first of the new shops late last year.

"We saw an opportunity," says Ramsey, "my wife had worked down here for one of the big corporations and she had come down here for lunch and noticed just the sheer amount of foot traffic."

Their store, near the Palace, sells gourmet chocolate.

"Business is very good," says Ramsey, "we are really thrilled with the level of response and the response we are getting from the community and from tourists."

And Jim Williams moved his men's accessory store to Fourth Street from his previous location at 18th and Jefferson.

It is called The Leading Man and Williams is optimistic that he can be successful at his new location.

"Fourth Street needed some flavor," says Williams, "it has been dead for so long and we are like a lot of the other business owners here, we just want to liven up Fourth Street."

The locally owned stores come here after a market study recommended a merchandise plan for this part of Fourth Street after the city was unable to attract a big name chain store.

"What I love about all of these unique stores," Louisville Mayor Fischer told the crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting, "is that they are all uniquely Louisville with our great entrepreneurs."

One problem is the old Hilliard Lyons, Stewart's building on the southeast corner of Fourth and Muhammad Ali.

The seven store building has been vacant for many years and plans to convert it into a hotel were put on hold once the 2008 recession struck.

But downtown leaders believe it won't be long before it too is redeveloped.

"It would be a major redevelopment project that would be a tremendous asset to the street," says Alan DeLisle, the chief executive officer of the Downtown Development Corporation.

DeLisle says he can't say exactly when a plan for the building will be announced.

In its heyday, this part of Fourth Street was the heart of the city's retail core and city leaders are trying to bring back some of that energy.


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