SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Hustle and bustle are returning to Salt Lake City’s downtown. Open Streets began three weeks ago on Main Street. Thursday night, businesses tell ABC4 News they are finally getting back and exceeding 2019’s pre-pandemic numbers.
“It’s hard not to justify keeping this around,” says Matt Crandall, the director of food and beverage and partner for Bourbon Group.
Since Open Streets began three weeks ago, Crandall says his week-over-week numbers are great from Whiskey Street and the White Horse restaurants.
He says, “We are up about 20% than what we were in 2019. So, it’s been good.”
Good because it’s putting money back into the hard-hit service industry.
“It’s really brought a nice buzz and energy to downtown,” Crandall adds.
Just north up Main Street is the Uniquely Utah Souvenir Company.
“As soon as Open Streets did their thing, and more people are comfortable with their vaccinations, business has picked up significantly,” says owner Martin Norman.
Norman says he’s feeling the 20% boost too.
“I was able to hire two more employees, two part-time employees. So it’s actually helped out quite a bit,” he adds.
Part of Norman’s philosophy is to support local businesses.
“We are hiring people on and helping other people out,” he says. “It is very refreshing you know, to get some normality back into daily life.”
Executive Director Dee Brewer of the Downtown Alliance is encouraged by the incoming data.
“When you see success here, that really ripples out through the valley,” says Brewer.
A ripple that begins locally with Open Streets.
“I think what we are demonstrating this summer is that there is interest in doing this all the time,” Brewer tells us.
Open Streets runs Thursday through Saturday from noon to midnight,
Main Street closes down to traffic from 400 S. up to South Temple.
There are attractions each night, and over at the Gateway will be a street chalk festival. So there will be plenty to do to help revitalize the Capitol city and get more people employed this weekend.