May 2, 2014 11:41 PM by Maddie Garrett
First Fridays have been a tradition in downtown Colorado Springs for some time, and the Downtown Partnership is hoping the monthly event and art walk is encouraging people to shop local and bringing attention to new businesses.
Jeannie Rober is a First Fridays regular. She enjoys the music, food, art and friends she sees out in downtown. She also likes that it's boosting the local economy.
"Oh I love them, I mean it's great to come downtown, I love downtown I love these art walks," she said.
That's just what Susan Edmondson, President and CEO of the Downtown Partnership, wants to hear.
"We want people to come and explore downtown and art's a great way to do that," said Edmondson.
It seems like the eternal struggle: to get people to go downtown to spend the evening and hopefully spend some of their money. Edmondson said it's also about building a community in the downtown area.
"We have really seen the needle move in a positive direction downtown, new restaurants, great new boutiques," she said.
One of those new businesses joining the downtown scene: Coquette's Bistro and Bakery.
"We have such an opportunity to expand and do really, this is more of who we are," said owner Michell Marx, talking about the new space.
Marx and her daughter just moved their unique bistro from Manitou Springs to North Tejon in downtown Colorado Springs. They said they had outgrown their location in Manitou, and are enjoying the extra space they now have, and the vibe of downtown Springs.
"I love that we're being part of doing something that helps expand the downtown," said Marx.
An art walk is just the sort of thing they're looking for, and it just so happens to take place right up the street from their new location. Marx said First Fridays is something that benefits her budding business.
"So this is perfect for us, we love energy, we love the fact that it's about the arts and that it's bringing people together," she said.
The Downtown Partnership is also starting a new project called Art in Storefronts. Local artists are putting up displays in vacant properties to add more curb appeal to the areas and hopefully bring attention to the available stores. Those displays will be up for several months.
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