Downtown Alive is expanding its reach in Wilmington


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Alive is expanding the program with the goal of helping more businesses.

The initiative has been around since late June and has been bringing people to downtown Wilmington to help struggling businesses.

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“Our goal with DBA [Downtown Business Alliance] and Downtown Alive is just to get feet on the street,” DBA President Terry Espy said. “Let’s bring people down to enjoy a good meal and do some shopping.”

Parklets are the newest addition to some businesses. While the program originally required entire streets to be shut down over the weekend, parklets use just a few parking spaces. This allows them to stay open everyday and for businesses to expand into roads that can’t be closed.

“After we got our feet under us really good with the closed street, the city came back and said okay you did it,” Espy said. “Let’s start allowing the other businesses in the central business district to participate. We’re pretty blown away.”

The program has been well received by most local businesses, with more joining over the past few weeks.

“As of today, between the initial businesses and the new ones, we’re up to thirty-four participants that we’ll start seeing on the streets this weekend,” Espy said.

One of those new participants is Fun Bowl, whose owner is excited about the parklets.

“People sitting outside in the parklet allows more people to walk through and more traffic,” Johnny Chen said.

The owner of Divine Vintage Boutique says local businesses have been able to survive the pandemic by sticking together.

“Downtown is really very family oriented,” owner Eliza Santos said. “All our small businesses, we’re really connected. There are a lot of organizations and groups that have been created that cater to us and help us a lot, and give us a lot of services. I think everyone here is chipping in. It takes that to make something like this work and be successful.”

Downtown Alive was originally scheduled to end its run on Labor Day, but it has been so successful, organizers are keeping the program in downtown through October 18.