2018 a big success for WF downtown revitalization

Updated: Dec. 5, 2018 at 11:08 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Firefighter turned business owner, Bill Weske, is one of the newcomers to downtown Wichita Falls.

“It’s amazing to watch, and it’s really neat to be a part of,” Weske said.

Weske is one of the co-owners of Hook & Ladder. The coffee shop and winery opened in June. This year alone 15 other businesses did the same downtown.

“It’s exciting I was here in 1979, and I watched a lot of people try to get downtown going and they would try to get a little traction and they would fall flat,” Weske said.

This time things are different, with support coming from all angles like downtown development, city leaders and the Chamber of Commerce.

His neighbor across the street Matt Bitsche, President of Wichita Falls Brewery, said all of those people are playing a big hand in helping.

“But I think a lot of it is just locals, locals that are pushing for downtown support and coming down here spending their money. walking around, coming to events,” said Bitsche.

Jana Schmader, Executive Director of Wichita Falls Downtown Development, is proud of the direction the district is going.

“2018 has been phenomenal, we just couldn’t be more excited about the number of businesses that have been moved in,” Schmader said.

Like Karat Bar & Bistro, Half Pint Half Pint Taproom & Restoration Hall, Juan and Juanitas Restaurant and more.

Schmader said a lot of these new establishments are doing well, many celebrating their one year.

“The first year can be hard for some, but they are continuing to be great and people are supporting them and coming downtown,” said Schmader.

Many business owners are glad to see others setting up shop there, adding they are in it for the long haul.

“I think everybody that does take that step and makes a gamble on downtown will say the same thing,” said Weske.

Shmader is not expecting this growth to slow down. She said 2019 might be better than this year.

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