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Downtown Cleveland Alliance: Occupancy and foot traffic are increasing

downtown Cleveland
Posted at 5:34 PM, Feb 02, 2023

CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the first time since the pandemic began, more than half of American workers were back at the office last week. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance has been comparing Cleveland’s recovery to those numbers. The most recent data, which are from October, show that 58% of Cleveland workers were back at the office, which was 10 percentage points higher than the nation's average at the time.

While those numbers are still far from 100%, Downtown Cleveland Alliance is working to get more people Downtown.

Bolivar Gomez, the owner of Brass Tack Shoe Repair, relies solely on foot traffic. He has been repairing anything you think of for 13 years.

“Everybody's happy, I have good reviews on Google, everybody looks at them then comes,” said Gomez, who was taught by his father.

Standing the test of time that some businesses in Downtown Cleveland haven't is something the Downtown Cleveland Alliance is trying to change.

“The pandemic has been hard on Downtown. One of the more frustrating things,” said Michael Deemer, President/CEO of Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

As the city recovers, there is a glimmer of hope.

“We've actually had more storefront businesses open over the course of the last three years than close,’ said Deemer.

According to a report by the DCA, on any given day, about 55% of Cleveland workers are in their offices. Storefronts are 86% full, and residential buildings are at 91%.

The group says its offering incentives to get more businesses in the heart of the city.

“We'll work with the city's storefront assistance program, the neighborhood development program that the city has helped with signage to help a little bit with build-out and will help with rolling out the red carpet,” said Deemer.

Deemer says they have a few more projects up their sleeve to make Downtown a better place for residents to live, work and play. The goal is to get more businesses like Bolivars.

Even when there are not as many customers walking in, he's not worried because he’ll always have something to shine.

“I like my job. I don’t know why. I’m very happy coming here. I'm serious,” said Gomez.

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