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Clematis Street businesses hurting for customers despite season starting

Posted at 12:08 AM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 08:07:33-05

It’s been a month since the main strip of Clematis in downtown West Palm Beach reopened after months of construction. Business owners in the area are praising the changes, but say one important thing is missing; the people. 

“Compared to last year this year is kind of slowly I think because not everyone knows the street is open because it’s been closed 3 to 4 months,” said Sushi Yama manager Kong Phalny. 

Sushi Yama has called Clematis Street home for the past 4 years. And after the city recently spent more than 2 million dollars to widen the sidewalks and make it more inviting for foot traffic Phalny was optimistic that would mean new customers and more revenue. 

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Instead, business owners in the area including Oh My Chocolates, say they are disappointed by the lack of people visiting the area. 

“If you want people to hang out the place has to be nice, look nice and people have to feel very comfortable coming down here,” said visitor Greg Stevens.   

Stevens works in the downtown area as a marketing manager. 

“I’ve been promoting down here since 1997, and I’ve seen changes, I’ve seen things come, I’ve seen things go,” said Stevens. 

Right now Stevens feels that more businesses and people are leaving rather than staying. But those who are loyal to the West Palm Beach area believe with season starting things will pick up soon. 

“If everybody busy and I’m not then somethings wrong, but it’s not much people here,” said Phalny. 

The City of West Palm Beach has invested money in a similar project near City Place where they hope to widen sidewalks but also bring more culture to the area. Construction is underway with an estimated completion date in the spring of 2019.