Batavia Boardwalk Shops Open For Season, Drive People Downtown

·2 min read

BATAVIA, IL — Eight "boardwalk shops" in downtown Batavia are offering local entrepreneurs the chance to reach shoppers and build a customer base, but they’re also set to play a critical role in helping businesses in the area get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The shops serve as a type of "business incubator," allowing owners to test the feasibility of their plans before signing a long-term lease or sinking their roots in Batavia, according to Sherri Wilcox, executive director of Batavia MainStreet.

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The organization launched the shops as a way to bolster the city’s downtown retail industry, which has been "suffering" like so many other towns, Wilcox said. The goal of the initiative is to turn the eight boardwalk shops into permanent retail fixtures in downtown Batavia, Wilcox said, by helping them prove their business plans.

The boardwalk shops, located at the corner of Wilson Street and Route 25, are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Despite the pandemic, the eight new shops opened just about on schedule on June 13, and many were an instant hit, Wilcox said.

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"People are really thrilled to come out," Wilcox said, adding several boardwalk shops sold out of their products within the first weekend.

The boardwalk shops’ opening drove a "tremendous amount of traffic" to other businesses in the downtown area, Wilcox said, recalling her joy as she watched many customers walk up the street to continue shopping or get something to eat after leaving the shops.

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"We’re building our retail sector in our downtown," Wilcox said. "We’re building our downtown at a time when that’s a rarity."

Batavia Boardwalk Shops

This article originally appeared on the Batavia Patch

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