JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Downtown business owners want change, more customers and more money coming through their doors.
New plans to revitalize downtown have given them new hope, they said today, on the Fourth of July - typically a busy day Downtown and this year a day before Alvin Brown's first full business day as the city's new mayor.
Maria Leon, owner of Cinco De Mayo Restaurant at The Landing, said she has been forced to change the way she's done business. "We have to lower our prices all the time," she said.
Right now, she doesn't have a choice, said Leon; business is slow.
She has tried to attract new customers with food specials, but even on a busy holiday like today, there are more open seats than customers in her waterfront restaurant and bar.
Downtown revitalization was one of Brown's campaign focuses. He touted his plan to build downtown Jacksonville into a world-class destination, and called it a top priority.
Droop Wilt, Sports Mania manager, anxiously awaits those changes. "I hope we make a boardwalk or something like that to drive more people downtown."
It's tough to find a business owner downtown who doesn't want change. The Jacksonville Landing has a 15 to 20 percent vacancy rate, which representatives there said isn't bad, but Landing businesses are ready for more foot traffic and are excited to see what the Brown administration will mean for their business.
"He's got big plans; he's talking about a convention center and bringing down more businesses and residents to downtown, and we couldn't be happier," said Blakeley Ainsworth, spokesperson for The Landing.
First Coast News