Downtown Wichita Falls business owners are busy this holiday season. New merchants said sales are better than expected while established merchants said sales are up from last year.
"It's been absolutely fantastic," said John Christoff of Turtle Creek Trading Co.
Julie Ressell, owner of Alley Cat Collective, said "It's been wonderful."
The Downtown Merchants Association has been pushing to get shoppers downtown this holiday season. Many stores have been staying open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays to encourage people to head downtown. While business owners said that move has had mixed results, most said it has been worth the effort.
"People are still finding us," said Christoff, "and we're making enough sales to make it worth while."
The main sore point with merchants, is the construction at the corner of 8th and Indiana. But, most complaints were of customer inconvenience, not a loss of business.
Executive Director of Downtown Wichita Falls Development Cynthia Laney said merchants, in general, have been seeing more traffic downtown. And, she said, sales tax revenues are slowly rising for the city.
According to Laney, 12 new businesses have opened downtown in the last 15 months. And, she said, there are more new development projects in the discussion phase.