Richmond businesses say parklet program is helping sales

Richmond businesses say parklet program is helping sales

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The City of Richmond just finished work on a series of parklets. Now people are enjoying them and business owners say it’s bringing in the bucks.

“You know it’s a nice day and we’re able to outside, that’s like awesome right? Obviously, places aren’t doing indoor seating as much so it’s just a nice way to be able to enjoy a coffee, sit outside,” said Eli Haag, who lives in Shockoe Bottom.

Think of these parklets as an outdoor deck, meant to take up a parking spot, offering customers who can’t sit inside a small business a fresh air option.

“When I saw that they had this right outside I was like absolutely I’m going back. I miss being able to be in public,” said Monni Morrow, who lives in Northside.

The city got the work done on all five structures in about a month, even dealing with some construction compatibility hiccups.

Parklets can be found in the following locations:

  • Shields Avenue at Joe’s Inn
  • 29th Street at The Nile
  • MacArthur Avenue at Stir Crazy/Demi’s
  • Leigh Street at Hot For Pizza
  • Strawberry Street at Scoop

“So this really helps gives people a place to sit down and enjoy it,” said Vickie Hall, owner of Stir Crazy Cafe.

Hall says she’s received nothing but positive feedback about the addition. It’s been in that location for about two weeks and she says it’s helping sales.

“This is definitely a walking neighborhood, lots of bikes and walking so it just helps,” said Hall.

All total, the project costs $60,000 but is actually funded through the Care Act. Money well spent, says the city, on a neighborhood amenity.

“It’s really an innovative way to take the public right of way and create public gathering spaces,” said Jason Alley, Policy Advisor to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

The city hopes to expand the project. Business owners say they’d like to see more of the parklets too.

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