COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - The city of Columbia has attracted thousands of visitors through holiday events at the close of 2018.
Businesses in the downtown area have seen explosive gains as a result of the downtown attractions.
Columbia’s popular fireworks show brought in 10,000 to the downtown area at the start of December and an event on Saturday brought in about 12,000.
Business owners said they’ve never seen as much traffic and customers over this holiday season and the excitement behind it all is still high.
“It’s really been amazing to see the traffic in our area and a lot of times in smaller towns," said Bryan Stewart, owner of The Deck in Columbia. “You see people going to the larger market areas doing a lot of their shopping and different things and it’s been an awesome time to see people staying in Columbia, to see community facilitated, to see full families downtown.”
Stewart said his business has seen a huge increase in profit every night the city held a big event.
“A normal Saturday night, like I said the slowest period of the week from like 8:00 to close, may do 100 or 150 bucks," Stewart said. “This last Saturday night was up $700 and most of that was done in the last hour, so that’s just strong evidence of what that downtown traffic created and translates into business numbers for us.”
“I think it’s been a big revolution, which has been pretty amazing," said Paris Schepemaker, a downtown business owner. “I’ve kind’ve been waiting on it to happen and knowing that it would happen and I’m excited to see this all like come to a fulfillment.”
Another business owner said the support from visiting shoppers was extremely beneficial.
“All of our people from Columbia have supported us, but we have had people from out of town that have also supported us and have come in to visit and have been impressed with what we have and what we’ve done," said Melissa Collier.
Several merchants downtown said they appreciate the effort it took to attract so many folks to the downtown area.
“Thank you for the hard work that they’ve put into it, the time that they’ve taken away from their families, their activities during the holiday season to make sure everybody else can enjoy what they’ve done” said Andrea Breland, another downtown business owner.