Downtown During A Down Time

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Have you been hibernating since the holidays? For a lot of people, this time of year is usually spent indoors.

However, some warm weather and fun promotions are drawing people out of the house and into Downtown Sioux Falls. We find out what’s being done to boost business during the post-holiday slump.

With the new year many people are committing to some life changes. That’s not always great news for local restaurants.

“Typically January is a slower month for restaurants. It’s a combination of a number of things. People are a little bit tighter on their wallets after Christmas, trying to get some New Year’s resolutions in. Maybe not dining out as much is definitely one of them,” said Barry Putzke, Bread and Circus Sandwich Kitchen co-owner. 

Looking around downtown, there is definitely less of a rush than what we saw the weeks leading up to Christmas. That forces some shops to get creative. 

“In the winter time we do happy hour daily and then all day on Sunday. Then we also kind of throw a twist in there and say basically any time it’s snowing out we do happy  hour, ” said Putzke. 

Unlike Bread and Circus Sandwich Kitchen, another shop a few blocks away are loving this season.

“For us, this is a fun time of year because people are making New Year’s resolutions and running is a fun sport. It’s a fun way to get active,” said Greg Koch, co-owner of 605 Running Company.

While 605 Running Company is getting a lot of customers looking to get fit and use some holiday gift cards, Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. is trying to help out the shops and restaurants who are seeing a slump in sales.

“There are just a myriad of events happening. A lot of things happening outdoors. Such as a pop-up ice skating rink, an outdoor music festival. We just really want to lean into the winter and want to embrace it. This is where we live. Get a coat, get your boots on and come outside,” said Brienne Maner, Vice President of Downtown Sioux Falls. 

One big event each year is the Burger Battle. A dozen downtown eateries create a new burger for customers to judge for one month. It’s a competition that spurs creativity and brings in some cash.

“We get a lot of people that wouldn’t normally come downtown, or just looking for a reason to go out to eat on a Friday night,” said Putzke. 

“It’s gone over like gang busters. We are so excited about the excitement restaurants have around the promotion, and how many burgers they’ve already sold. We’ve already had to reprint our ratings slips because it’s been so popular,” said Maner. 

Another big event downtown is First Friday. While some believe it’s only a summer thing, downtown shops and local organizations are still putting on a fun night for visitors in the winter as well. 

“You know, the more creative you can be the better. It’s all about your in store experience. So being downtown we’ve got a great, unique location. Matching service and goods to that is just essential,” said Koch. 

For Run 605, offering weekly group runs and yoga sessions is a productive way to keep people engaged. Putzke says food photos draws in people from social media.

No matter the business, it’s all about giving the people what they want.

“Really it’s just a matter of providing something that people can’t get at home, or giving them a reason or excuse to leave their house,” said Putzke. 

“Everything is a community downtown and so they definitely facilitate that sense of camaraderie. And all of the businesses get along really, really well. Which makes for a really unique shopping experience you can’t find anywhere else,” said Koch. 

Crazy Days is another big event that will be January 18 and 19. Stores will be discounting their Winter items to make way for Spring. 

The business owners also told us the weather right now has been a big factor in bringing more people downtown.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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