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In-person events boost business in downtown Madison

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As more businesses start to bounce back from the pandemic, the goal of major events like Make Music Madison and the weekly Farmers’ market is to get customers to step inside.

“Just all of these people being out and about again, I can only imagine the impact it’s having on the greater Madison economy,” David Blair, Chef and Manager of Wonderstate Coffee said.

Business is picking up for Blair and his staff at their café on Capitol Square, as Dane County re-opens, and in-person events return.

“Cafes and restaurants on the square I’m sure are reaping the benefits,” Blair said. “The staff and I think the crowd was really excited to be out and enjoying what makes Madison such a cool place to live.”

This past weekend, Wonderstate nearly doubled its best daily revenue since it opened in Dec. 2020.

“It’s really important to our restaurants, it’s vital to our retail businesses,” Tiffany Kenney, Exec. Dir. of the Madison Central Business Improvement Dist. Said.

Kenney says around 70% of purchases made downtown, are made during large public events.

“What are we at, 15, [maybe] 18 months of economic challenges?” Kenney said. “We really need people to come down and support our community.”

As farmers’ markets, football games and concerts continue to grow in number, Blair says it is what these businesses have been waiting for.

“A new style of business we’re going to have to get used to over the summer, but definitely one we were anticipating and banking on,” Blair said.

According to the group Downtown Madison, pedestrian traffic is already much higher than 2020, but not quite at the level of visitors in 2019. With several more events are scheduled for this summer, they are anticipating the number of visitors to increase.

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