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Pop-up event on 6th Avenue brings customers to suffering local businesses

Pop-up events on 6th Avenue bring customers to suffering local businesses
Posted at 7:07 PM, Nov 30, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Construction on a part of 6th Avenue has made this road a dead end for a few years now. That has had a major impact on local business.

“It was terrible because we were down 2-3 months and we didn’t know what the future was,” said George Landa, an employee at Miller's Surplus.

Miller's Surplus near the intersection of 6th and 7th streets has been in business for 70 years, but that almost ended last year. Other shops on 6th Avenue have a similar story.

“Coming off of covid and being closed during that time we don’t know what to expect anymore, I can’t rely on a busy Friday or Saturday because we might not have it,” said Rebecca Safford, Co-owner of Tap and Bottle.

Nearby construction, supply chain issues, and the pandemic created the perfect storm of problems for business.

“The construction has basically killed us," Landa said. "It's killed all of us down here. We get calls, how do you get to the store, there’s no direction.”

“We’re closed off from 4th Avenue, closed off from downtown," Safford said. "We used to get a lot of foot traffic.”

The Living Streets Alliance wanted to help.

“This is a dead end, it's a dead zone, and we’re trying to activate it to bring people into this space,” said Emily Yetman, Executive Director of the Living Streets Alliance.

They closed off a part of 6th Avenue, put out some plants and chairs, and planned events throughout the day to bring foot traffic to this part of downtown.

“We all developed new habits when we had to stay home and there was so much unknown," Yetman said. "So we got out of the habit of going to certain places or shopping locally.”

There were food trucks, free workout classes, and open discussions with the city to create more bike lanes.

“It's important for us that this avenue shows that we’re still alive,” Landa said.

The hope is to support the local businesses during a time they need it the most.

“Might not be that easy to get here by car right now but that’s okay, you can ride your bike, you can walk," Safford said. "Let's really look at what this community has.”