Rockford’s City Market generating Friday-night business
Rockford City Market’s goal of creating a weekly downtown tradition that continues to grow jobs and businesses is proving successful. As the market nears the halfway point of the season, attendance figures have already exceeded last year’s total attendance, with crowds swelling to 3,000 during peak weeks.
Several downtown restaurant owners report their Friday night business is up as a result of the increased traffic downtown.
“The market has shown with absolute certainty that what is good for downtown as a whole is good for each individual business,” said Abreo restaurant owner Paul Sletten. “Since the market has started, the streets on a Friday night are bustling with people.”
Sletten said he sees an increase in customers just after the market closes, and that’s resulted in 10-15 percent more business on Friday nights.
Irish Rose owner Mike Leifheit said increased business has caused him to add additional kitchen and wait staff on Fridays. “Everybody’s full,” Leifheit said. “When you walk down the street on Friday night, every restaurant is full.”
Rock River Development Partnership’s Peter Provenzano said: “We chose Friday evenings so we could make sure the market had a benefit to the restaurants, businesses and artists that have already taken risks by locating downtown, in addition to leveraging the employment base of 10,000-plus workers. We are very pleased to see continued growth in both the market and its economic impact.”
Market organizers expect attendance to increase as more produce comes into season over the next couple weeks.
The market runs from 3-7 p.m. every Friday, through Oct. 21, along Water Street between State and Jefferson streets in downtown Rockford. Check out the Rockford City Market website at www.rockfordcitymarket.com for a complete calendar of events and entertainment.
Rockford City Market is a collaborative effort of several agencies, including the Rock River Development Partnership, On the Waterfront, Inc., Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the River District Association, the City of Rockford, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and the Illinois Small Business Development Center.
From the Aug. 10-16, 2011, issue
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