“Everyone is out,” Bennett says. “This completes the relocation for the project.”
All told, Bennett says the city is paying out about $300,000 to former 6th Street tenants. There were approximately 12 retailers that opted for relocation funds of up to $50,000, he says. Bennett wouldn’t release specifics — he said less than half of the businesses planned to find a new location.
Sixth Street News, a magazine and newspaper outlet, and Larry’s Cookies are moving to the food court, which is the only part of 6th Street Marketplace that isn’t being demolished. Bridges, a knickknack novelty store, is moving to Broad and Foushee streets, Bennett says, and A&J Music is taking a new location on Broad Street. The relocating retailers couldn’t be reached by press time.
If Little Peep’s is any indication, life after Sixth Street may not be easy. Despite the perception of poor business, many businesses were able to find a niche at the marketplace. It wasn’t a high-income demographic, but retailers have said the market was healthy nonetheless.
“Surprisingly enough, the majority of the people that we dealt with had income,” Bennett says.
Proctor says his shop was profitable in 1999 and 2000, his first two years of business, but sales started trending downward as the city aggressively plotted Broad Street’s makeover in 2001. It seemed like every day the media were reporting on the demolition of the marketplace, he says. Many of Proctor’s customers thought his urban clothing store had already closed down.
“To me it’s backwards to build a convention center” and move his business out, Proctor says. “There’s no attractions down here.” –Scott Bass
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