Businesses share mixed views on Frisco Pedestrian Promenade
Many are glad it’s back but need a full staff to capitalize on its draw
It’s been over a week since the Frisco Pedestrian Promenade made its return to Main Street, and as it launches just in time for the summer season many local business owners have mixed feelings about its implementation this year.
The Frisco Pedestrian Promenade launched out of necessity last summer when many businesses were limiting how many customers could be indoors. This year, Frisco officials agreed that the amenity was one the town could invest in to spur economic activity.
While owners agree it’s definitely attracting more visitors, the lack of staffing makes it hard to keep up with demand. One such owner is Lodema Cullum of Funky Trunk Boutique. Cullum said she doesn’t have enough staff to watch over an outside display.
“I can’t really watch my racks outside,” Cullum said. “Being that I’m consignment, this is other people’s property, so I’m not really comfortable putting their merchandise outside.”
General manager of Greco’s Pastaria Kristy Vogt said the same thing. Vogt noted she and the team at Greco’s were excited to have the promenade back for the environment it provides customers, but the restaurant currently doesn’t have the staff to fulfill extra seating and long days. Vogt said the restaurant has 10 tables outside, which can seat an additional 40 people.
Vogt said this wasn’t as big of an issue last year because the restaurant needed the extra seating with its dining room closed and social distancing requirements in place.
“We can’t open for lunches right now because we are so short staffed with everything … COVID did to the restaurant industry, and I know we’re not the only ones on Main Street Frisco looking for help in front of the house and back of the house,” Vogt said. “So it would be nice to open all of the time, but we just can’t pull it off right now.”
For Cullum, the promenade presents other issues too.
“I think that this year, what has probably been more difficult is the lack of parking and all of the construction going on around us,” Cullum said. “That has made it a little more difficult for my consigners. Not necessarily customers, but consigners — the people that want to bring in their stuff to consign it with me. It’s hard because they can’t find a parking spot that’s very close.”
Cullum noted that the promenade isn’t entirely hard to work with. She said the aesthetics it provides the town are an added bonus and that it draws in more visitors.
“Overall, they did a really nice job with it because they had a little more time to prepare,” Cullum said. “The barricades they set up are nice. They added the flower boxes and the tree boxes, and it just looks really nice. And I love the lights.”
Co-owner of Next Page Books & Nosh Lisa Holenko said she was a big fan of the promenade both last year and this year, and she said she wanted to see the town implement something similar even before the pandemic.
“For one thing, I think it looks great aesthetically,” Holenko said. “I think it’s inviting, and it enhances the small-town feel of Frisco. And I think it gives a much safer way for pedestrians and bikers to be in town and just be able to casually walk up and down without worrying about cars.”
Not only that, but Holenko said she’s heard from customers that they’ve decided to hang around in Frisco longer than expected because of the amenity.
“The feedback that I have gotten is that people really love this walking promenade,” Holenko said. “I’ve even (heard that) some people who have been staying in Breckenridge (are coming) down here because they heard that we had it, and obviously Breckenridge chose not to do it this year.”
Moving forward, Vogt said even though the promenade has put more pressure on businesses that are already short staffed, she would support the amenity next year, especially if staffing issues weren’t as prominent as they are now.
“Obviously, I hope that by next year we’re back to normal staffing levels,” Vogt said. “It really does help our business. It’s a great impact for us as far as sales and drawing people to Frisco. I know with Breckenridge not having their promenade this year, it’s a huge draw for Frisco. People that come up say, ‘Oh wow, this is amazing. I’m going to stay in Frisco instead of driving to Breckenridge.’ We would take it with open arms.”
As for Breckenridge’s decision not to hold its Walkable Main, Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes said there hasn’t been additional dialogue from town leaders about the amenity, and leaders felt confident in their decision not to host it this year. She said there hasn’t been any discussion as to whether or not Breckenridge will host it again next year.
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