WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There's a new business boom in downtown West Palm Beach according to the Downtown Development Authority.
Rafael Hernandez moved down to West Palm Beach from New York. He wanted to get a taste of the downtown area, so he decided to take a ride on the trolley. Wednesday marked his first time riding it.
"I love it," he said.
These days, the Downtown Development Authority is counting trolley riders. The agency says, so far this year, ridership is up 20 percent compared to last year's number of more than half a million riders. And that was a record year.
More visitors means a good reason for new businesses to move in.
"To date, we've had roughly 25 new businesses opening. We anticipate about 10 more to open by year's end," said Raphael Clemente, of the Downtown Development Authority.
One of those businesses is the Wine Dive, a full service wine bar, owned by the same people as Roxy's Pub. In the next six weeks, the Wine Dive plans to hire 15-30 new employees.
"The difference between today and five years ago is that businesses are really developing on the street," said Whitney Offield, the general manager of Roxy's Pub. "I think we probably have 50-60 new businesses on the street. We just think it's a really great time to expand."
Hernandez plans to enjoy retirement here in the area. He says, to him, it looks like the area's really trying to stay afloat.