SOFO retailers claim good business despite empty storefronts - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SOFO retailers claim good business despite empty storefronts

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville retail district SOFO isn't even a year old, but some businesses there have already closed up shop.

"I personally think it's just the nature of the beast of retail," said Mary Levinsky, who owns Block Party Handmade Boutique.

She's watched some of her neighbors give up, but said it doesn't discourage her.

"Within the first year, it is typical for businesses to close," she said.

Levinsky told WDRB the winter months were slow.

"January and February were rough and I think that was everywhere because of the weather. Down here, there's a lot of walking traffic, so the weather does affect us," she explained.

Next door at Regalo, owner JD Dotson believes South Fourth Street is just getting started and hasn't yet reached its full potential.

"I think it's going to keep going. There's a lot of space down here that's available that people could still come into. Business has been great. It's actually been better than we expected," he said.

"The momentum is definitely growing," said Keith Brooks, communications specialist for Louisville Downtown Partnership.

Brooks told WDRB they're seeing more locals and tourists visiting SOFO because of the First Friday Trolley Hop.

"We've seen ridership increase by nearly 2,000 riders on the trolleys and we expect that number to grow especially with the upcoming hotels in this area," he said.

Brooks said the goal is to remind people of the spirit of old S. Fourth St.

"This was an iconic area in Louisville in the 1950s and '60s so we want to reach back to the locals that used to come to this area to shop," said Brooks.

WDRB asked Brooks to explain why vacancies and empty storefronts shouldn't be a discouragement.

"Well I think that's part of the growing process with downtown businesses. They shouldn't be restricted to one specific area," he answered.

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