A local downtown business closing raises questions about downtown's future

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU) A local downtown restaurant remains closed for now. Obsession Chocolates last day of business was Sunday (7/22).

Rebecca Flynn, who owns the business on South Barstow, says she is looking at restructuring and possible reopening.

The news of the lounge and cafe closing is raising questions on the state of Eau Claire’s downtown.

The south Barstow area has been under speculation since the Confluence Project was announced back in May.

The project would create a performing arts center and student housing building in downtown Eau Claire.

Eau Claire Economic Development Director Mike Schatz says while plans aren't finalized one of the options is to include the south Barstow buildings.

"Those are the things the developers want to hear from the community do they want to be able to walk down on the river front do they want a bigger new commercial building," said Mike Schatz

One thing developers want to do is secure businesses that make downtown a destination.

“Downtown has always been an area of transition you get what we call the births and deaths businesses leaving but what we are trying to get to is an area is more stability,” said Schatz

While there is no word yet on why Obsession Chocolates closed, Schatz says many downtown area shops and restaurants are doing well.

"Business has been going really well for us. Not only people coming into buy stuff, adults, kids but even people are just walking off the streets, ” said Bremmer

Eli Bremmer opened 'When I Turn Sixty-Four', a Beatles memorabilia, store in June.

He says while he knows construction downtown may create some challenge, he's excited to see the area grow.

"Downtown is the heart of the Eau Claire, we are ready for change things are always changing so I think it’s good," said Bremmer

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