State Street businesses start slow recovery

After coronavirus-related closures and weeks of unrest, some businesses are starting to bounce back, but others are struggling.
Published: Jul. 26, 2020 at 9:21 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Downtown businesses are slowly rebuilding, nearly two months after many suffered damage from unrest. Some State Street business owners said recovery is slow, but easing coronavirus restrictions has helped.

For business owners like Cory Correia, 2020 has been a difficult year.

“It was just kind of stressful and scary thinking, how are we going to pay rent?” said Correia, who owns Isthmus Tattoo and Social Club in the 200 block of State Street.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced him to close the shop for two months. Soon after, in late May and early June, weeks of unrest damaged many area businesses.

Correia’s tattoo shop did not suffer damage, but he felt the impact.

“It scared some people into staying away from downtown and State Street,” he explained.

Correia stayed afloat by selling gift certificates online and applying for grants, but for other businesses, the struggle is not over.

According to a survey conducted by Madison Central Business Improvement District in early June, 25 percent of State Street businesses do not think they will reopen at all.

For the businesses that have reopened, like Correia’s, owners said welcoming customers back has been a big part of recovery.

“We’re so connected to our customers and so dependent on our customers,” said co-owner of Anthology Laura Komai.

Komai said Anthology also moved online to keep business alive while they were closed.

“We ended up shipping out packages to all 50 states,” Komai said.

However, online shopping was not the best replacement.

“It’s a little dense in the store, and there’s no way that I could list everything on a website,” Komai explained, adding, “The purpose of Anthology is to have people come into this space.”

State Street’s recovery is still a process, but both Correia and Komai said having customers inside again has been a big help.

“The kind of relationships that we’ve built with our customers have really, they’ll carry us through,” Komai said.

NBC15 reached to the Central Business Improvement District for updated numbers on how many businesses may or may not open but did not hear back.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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