RALEIGH, N.C. — Specialty stores and restaurants are supposed to attract and keep people downtown. But that is not happening at Raleigh's City Market. When night falls, so does business.
Mario Longo owns Vic's, an Italian eatery. He wishes the nighttime traffic sizzled like his cuisine.
"Weekend is very well," Longo said. "In the daytime it's full, but at nighttime, we've got to work it out."
City Market is a collection of art galleries, restaurants, bars and specialty shops.
Chris Bowman has been a business tenant for 10 years. He said drawing people to the area after dark means letting them know that it is safe to come downtown.
"Our downtown is probably safer than most that people will visit, but it's the perception that it's not there," he said.
Changing that perception is where Margaret Mullen comes in. She heads up
Raleigh's Downtown Alliance
Mullen said the major challenges with City Market are marketing and parking.
"We're working on it. That's a signage issue we have with the city. We hear from a lot of people that they come down here and it's not easy to park over there," she said.
There are big plans for downtown, including a trolley that would connect City Market to other night spots, like Glenwood South and the warehouse district.
City Market has a number of vacancies, which current tenants said represents opportunities for new businesses.