LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It had fallen on hard times after being the heart of Louisville's retail corner.
"SoFo," as a few people call it, or South Fourth Street, south of Fourth Street Live, is making a comeback, thanks to local entrepreneurs.
During the past year, a half-dozen or so small locally owned retail stores have opened in the 500 and 600 blocks of Fourth Street.
For many years, downtown leaders have been working to redevelop the area and this year seems to be a turning point.
Mary Levinsky opened her boutique filled with locally made products in April.
"It's not just a local business, but all the products are local as well," said Levinsky.
She says at first, most of her business came from conventioneers.
"As convention season has slowed down, I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of locals and downtown workers who come downtown and showed their support," says Levinsky.
The story is the same further south down the street from Forest Ramsey and his wife who opened a gourmet chocolate shop near the Palace Theatre a little more than a year ago.
"We are starting to see more of the foot traffic from local citizens," says Ramsey, "and that is excellent and what we really like to see."
But Ramsey says he would like to see more businesses come to the area and fill some of the vacant storefronts which remain.
"I'd love to have more retailers down here," adds Ramsey, "we have a great start; we have an outstanding selection of folks up the street, but we would like to have more folks down here for a wider shopping experience."
Louisville metro government spent about a half million dollars improving sidewalks and lighting along the two blocks.
Downtown office workers have noticed the improvements.
"They've redone the road; they have done piping underneath; all kinds of new shops are opening up," says Art Colwell who works in a nearby office building. "There have been a lot of changes since I've been here and I hope all goes well."
All should go even better when two new hotels, now under construction along this part of Fourth Street, open in about a year.
"I am happy to be downtown and I am really passionate about making this work," said Levinsky, "It's not easy, you have to hang in there."
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