Celebrate Eau Claire welcomes people to revamped Barstow Street

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) People lined up to celebrate downtown Saturday afternoon, but area businesses say despite all of the foot traffic, they are still recovering from slow sales during construction on South Barstow Street

Just a little over a month after South Barstow Street reopened to traffic, street vendors filled the heart of the city -- Celebrating Downtown Eau Claire -- a scaled down version of the International Fall Festival.

Businesses say Saturday’s scaled down event meant less customers for them but they say it’s nice to see new faces come in the door

“There were way more people downtown and more things going on so there has been a big drop in the number of people coming through,” Silver Feather owner Jane Wolf said.

It’s been a little over three weeks since Wolf reopened her shop on South Barstow Street. She says her doors were closed during construction and since opening up she’s been seeing a lot of familiar faces stopping back in.

“A lot of my customers are repeat customers just going by and people see my open sign and they stop in. So I’ve been busier now in September,” Wolf explained

With the start of fall, Wolf said she was excited to have people come into her shop for the International Fall Festival but when she heard things would be scaled down this year because of construction she knew it would mean less business for her.

“So when you have fewer people coming through its going to have an impact in the long run,” Wolf said.

A few blocks down Benny Haas says he is happy that construction is complete and his two businesses are excited to welcome people to the new downtown.

“Anytime you can get a thousand people around your door it’s our job as business owners to get them in the door and keep them in the door,” Haas said.

Even as floats and bands rolled down the street, Downtown Eau Claire Inc. says they are still working on putting the final touches on the street to welcome more people to downtown.

“In the weeks to come the final steps will be the plants in the planters and there will be trees as the final step,” DECI Promotions Coordinator Salina Heller said.

DECI says they fully expect next year’s event will return to its normal size.


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