LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – With the recent shooting downtown, area businesses are sending a clear message they’re safe and open for business during the holiday.
Early Tuesday, Main Street in downtown Little Rock looked like a ghost town this Fourth of July. The reason is that many have said they're scared to go downtown after the Power Ultra Lounge shooting that left 28 people injured on Saturday.
Around 30,000 people are hosted in downtown Little Rock every year for the Pops on the River fireworks show which doesn’t start until 5:30 p.m. The show is a great chance for downtown businesses to attract customers for lunch, dinner, and drinks.
"You have plenty of the vendors in the River Market Hall that are open, the shops are open, then we have all the new concessions that are here for tonight's events,” said Gabe Holmstrom with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.
Samantha's Tap Room is located at the intersection of Main and 4th. The restaurant had six reservations cancel on Saturday. The owner told THV11 that people just didn’t want to come downtown.
"Fourth of July typically is a little slower. People are going out to lakes, traveling to go see family, going down to the beach, and we expect that. That's part of what we anticipate and build in for in our business model,” said Don Dugan, of Dugan's Pub.
He said in the seven years he's been downtown, he's never felt unsafe, and hopes people don't stop coming downtown.
Dugan added that he has “seen posts on Facebook and other places,” about downtown after the shooting, but he said the horrific event is not an accurate representation of the district. In the past several years, there’s been an effort between the community and business leaders to revitalize the area.
Holmstrom echoed the same sentiment, saying the nightclub shooting isn't indicative of downtown Little Rock.
"I think people are smart enough to see this is an isolated incident. This was at a bad place, at a bad time. During the day, and during the evening hours, here in the River Market, here downtown is still a great place to live, work, and play,” Holmstrom explained.
Tasha Stratton, who runs Stratton’s Market said, "we were slower this weekend than a normal weekend, but hopefully people feel comfortable and confident coming downtown. It is such a wonderful place and a great neighborhood.”