LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — The Little Rock River Market is a popular spot many people go to shop or grab a bite to eat. But inside the River Market Hall, small restaurant owners say they are not getting enough business.
Inside the River Market Hall, or the Ottenheimer Market Hall, sits 15 restaurants offering a variety of foods. However, business owners are not seeing good profits.
Mason’s Burgers owner Omar Kasees said a large part of it has to do with the blue decal that covers up the windows.
"80 percent of our business are tourists. When they walk by they have no idea what's in here,” Kasees said.
Kasees said the decal was put up last summer, and since then his business has seen major decreases in sales.
"It's not just me, everyone in the hall is saying their business has decreased over 60 percent,” he said.
Kasees said the large blue decal outside makes it hard for people to tell what is inside.
"It's over 50 percent of the window. No one knows we exist,” he said. “It looks like blue masking tape on the building.”
Kasees said the visitors bureau put up the decal to disguise the kitchen equipment that was exposed from the street. But other owners say it is only disguising their business.
"They said that we would have representation out on the street to let people know that we exist, and we have yet to have anything,” Kasees said.
David’s Burgers is the only restaurant that has a sign on the outside and restaurant owners inside the hall said they want the same exposure.
“Originally we got the okay to put our own representation on these windows. As long as they did not exceed 20 percent which is a city code ordinance,” Kasees said.” The day we were installing the decals, our representation, they told us that they have to remove it and that they were going to put something of their own.”
Kyler Nordeck opened up his restuarant Katmando Momo this year.
"Not having signage outside stating what's in here, who's in here, it's only hurting us I believe,” Nordeck said.
He said having the sticker there is frustrating.
"I've met so many people that have said We don't know what's in here and from the outside looking in you cannot tell,” Nordeck said.
Business owners and customers have since started a petition, in hopes the blue sticker will be taken down, so business will pick back up.
“The biggest thing as a business owner here is getting people in the door without being able to advertise yourself other than social media, it’s really difficult because it’s primarily based on tourists that come here or people Monday through Friday that work downtown,” Nordeck said. “If they don’t know that we’re here. They’re not going to walk in the door. From the outside looking in, there’s no way to tell what variety of food is in here.”
The petition has since garnered almost 100 online signatures to get the decal taken down.
THV11 reached out to the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau for comment Friday, Nov. 17, but they have not yet called back.
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