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November 15, 2017 06:39 AM

What Does It Take To Keep Businesses Open Downtown?

Sioux Falls

There are 2,500 people living in downtown Sioux Falls. In the daytime, that number climbs to 15,000 people in the neighborhood. Yet, Keller's Green Grocery closed its doors last week.

"My heart broke and it breaks every time I see a retail store close," Craig Brown, owner of Scrachpad Tees, said. 

A closed sign now hangs on the specialty grocery store's door. For fellow Phillips Avenue business owner, Brown says it's a sad day. 

"It breaks my heart because I know how much work it is to make a success of a business and how much sweat and toil, questioning and analysis goes into trying to make a business successful," Brown said. 

But what does it take to stay open? 

According Joe Batcheller, the President of Downtown Sioux Falls, it takes a lot. 

"It's a grind. They're having to go to social functions outside of business hours, trying to spread their brand awareness of what they have going on," Batcheller said. 

Batcheller says Downtown Sioux Falls tries to help the specialty stores in the heart of the city garner the foot traffic they need to stay afloat. 

"What we try to do as an organization is really try to put a bullseye on downtown for getting visitors and shoppers down here," Batcheller said. 

Brown says small businesses need more supporters, like Batcheller and his team. 

"You have to be willing to be an advocate for a business like that and say, 'Hey, yeah it's a little strange the grocery store is in the back of a hotel lobby, but it's safe, warm, comfortable,'" Brown said. 

Although Keller's doors will remain closed, hopes remain high for the future of this prime location. 

"There's still opportunity downtown," Batcheller said. 

"I'm bullish on downtown Sioux Falls in the long-term, I'm just really broken-hearted in the short term," Brown said. 

The grocery store closed last Friday after a year of business. 

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