Although not at pre-pandemic levels, new businesses show downtown Raleigh economy rebounding

Wake County News

RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – While shortages and supply chain issues still pressure local businesses in Raleigh, new data shows the economy is still growing and headed in the right direction to fully recover from the pandemic.

TG Floristry is one of 48 new and expanded storefronts in downtown Raleigh this year.

According to the Raleigh Downtown Alliance, new storefronts are up 71 percent from this time last year.

After years of working out her home, owner Tiera George opened up three weeks ago on Morgan Street.

“It took a lot, it’s still taking a lot as we kind of get adjusted,” George said.

She’s been surprised with a strong start, even in the middle of a pandemic.

“People are back and people are shopping,” George said. “I really wasn’t expecting a ton of people after our grand opening and I think on our first day we did really well, our second week we sold out.”

She’s not alone, a recent Q3 report from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance shows Raleigh is continuously rebounding.

Pedestrian traffic is up 126 percent from last year, hotel occupancy up 28 percent from Q2 to Q3 this year and multiple large companies have chosen to expand downtown office space this year.

“For the most part across segments we are not back to full pre-pandemic levels, we are consistently getting closer,” Will Gaskins, Director of planning for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance said. “We are making a recovery so time is going to one thing that’s going to be very helpful. Certainly safety, continuing to see the case numbers come down, availability of vaccines and safety measures.”

Even with food and beverage sales soaring above 140 percent over last year’s shutdowns and restrictions, Gaskins said hospitality is hit among the hardest and could take the longer to come back.

“We’re seeing weekend traffic pick back up but the weekday traffic, the business travel has been slower to return,” Gaskins said.

George said starting a florist shop is also not without it’s challenges as national supply chain backups take their toll.

“We went pretty much 100 percent local because it was like, we don’t have anything that could be shipped in, everything was super high,” George said.

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