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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Tourist season usually ushers in a new crowd of out-of-towners looking to spend a few bucks in downtown wilmington. But business owners say profits are down.

“I think it has to do with this weird weather we’ve been having this year,” Hardwire Tattoo owner Justin LaNasa said. “It took a while to warm up, and now it’s raining like crazy. And then it rained. Also, I feel that the gas prices has something to do with tourists not wanting to travel real far.”

LaNasa and other downtown business owners say parking is also to blame for slugging sales in the central business district.

“The little bit of money (the city makes) off parking is damaging the merchants, and that’s what keeps the bars and restaurants and the night activity high and the day activity less, because people don’t want to pay that parking fee when they could go somewhere else,” LaNasa said.

Earlier this year the city increased rates in its parking decks and changed the way it charges to park in them. Records show that about 2,700 fewer cars parked in city decks in May compared to the same month last year. Revenue is down in comparing those months, too, by nearly $2,700. But one tourist we spoke with says that’s not the cause of the slump in business.

“I don’t believe it’s the parking rates. They’re more expensive in other towns,” tourist Vern Moody said. “I mean five dollars for a day is, to me, reasonable.”

He says the economy is the real culprit.

Jade Edens, who works, at Penders Café disagrees. She says it is the parking.

“I think it’s the cost, and I think there’s not been enough on-street parking,” she said.

Business owners we spoke with say that although things are slow right now, with 4th of July just around the corner, and the weather clearing up, they’re hopeful that business will pick back up again, too.

Business owners say other factors affecting sales may be downtown construction and the fact they’re seeing more in-state visitors and fewer out-of-state tourists.

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8 Comments on "Business owners: Parking, weather, construction slowing sales downtown"

Guest Timekeeper
2015 years 10 months ago

Wilmington leaders should take a day trip to New Bern and check out all the great parking lots they have downtown, and all are free.

2015 years 10 months ago

I had read that tourism was going to be flat, or down slightly compared to last year.
Its not the parking
Its not the gas.
70,000 North Carolinian’s are about to lose extended unemployment benefits this weekend. Many more will lose them over the next couple of months.
DAK, Invista, and other company’s are slowing.
This state has only created 56,000 jobs since March of 2012. That is less than 5,000 per month.
70,000 lose benny’s this weekend
466,000 total are unemployed.
How many in state college graduates come into the job picture every May?
And yet McCrory cannot attract 100 gun manufacturing jobs – they went to SC.
Asleep at the wheel Ms Decker? The only difference between you and Smileys Commerce Secretary is that he was in Europe at an air show while jobs went south on us.
This is an abysmal start to an administration and there seems to be no change in the amount of incompetence shown by the Admin and the Legislature.
Smirkey is a joke


Concealed Carrying Mom
2015 years 10 months ago

Yea, I said it. The thing that city council, WD Inc and all you other spineless P.O.S wont acknowledge.

Hood rats are the predominant problem (which the majority of are probably tattoo customers, so hows that for irony) followed by the over abundance of PDA from the gay community and just plain gross & disturbing people allowed to congregate.

Ive quit going downtown and refuse to spend a dime there because of the fights, shootings, gang activity & low class idiots covered in tattoos always trying to bum cigarettes (from people like me that dont even smoke) and trying to mess with my kids.

Downtown is headed back to the cesspool it was in the late 70s & 80s, with junkies walking the streets like zombies from an episode of “The Living Dead”.

48 bullets collected from too many shootings to count in the past 28 days.

Yea morons, its the weather, parking and gas prices. I hope you people, thinking like that, arent the least bit stunned when your companies go out of business. Your political correctness and naivety have gotten the best of you.

2015 years 10 months ago

WHO HOO !!! THE TRUTH AT LAST THE ~TRUTH AT LAST..You political correct morons need this pounded in your stupid heads. At last someone that knows the truth and speaks it. Thank you so much !!

johnny black
2015 years 10 months ago

Its the parking and the shootings. I will not pay $5.00 to park so I can get a bite to eat. I put $5.00 in the wrong slot one time near the George restaurant and I got a ticket, I was the only car in the parking lot.
When the law changes and I can carry in a restaurant if I don’t drink, I will feel safer walking downtown but they need to let people park for free.

2015 years 10 months ago

When I have guests in town, for $5 we take a ferry ride to Southport where the parking is FREE… a nice boat ride, and great lunch at The Provision Company…

Kure Beach–free parking…

Just saying…

2015 years 10 months ago

EXCELLENT post, and spot-on!

dean bauley
2015 years 10 months ago

i been here 16 years. when i have family visiting , i take them to kure beach , free parking. then we head to the ferry to south port, then more free parking. i know im taking them to a safe place to eat and shop . downtown wilmington isnt a safe place to be, everyone who lives in wilmington know not to go below 5th st. if any one go downtown get a parking ticket/ robber/ killed/ raped/ get what you deserves .


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