Fourth of July brings good news for downtown businesses

News 12 @ 11 o'clock/ Monday, July 6, 2014

(WRDW) --

Fireworks weren't the only thing booming last night, business downtown also took off. "It was good, we had First Friday and the Fourth of July, all together in one," said O'Donovans manager Jennifer Mentor. She's worked their since the restaurant opened up about five months ago.

She says last night, was the perfect opportunity to bring some new faces in their door. "I definitely think having these kinds of events and live music is definitely a way to draw more people downtown and show people downtown Augusta is more of an enjoyable atmosphere," she said.

Mentor saw a lot of people filtering into her restaurant and others after the fireworks last night, but some folks were upset by a lot of closed doors.

Last night Craft and Vine and Sky City were both closed. Some folks told News 12 they thought it could be about safety, that even with increased patrols, having two events downtown increased the risk of violence. But Sky City owner, Coco Rubio said, they were closed to let employees enjoy the holiday and that fear of violence downtown did not factor into the decision to close.

Harold Kye sees is as a missed opportunity. "I see this is a great opportunity myself. I love both sides of the street, I love the parking. But what good is the parking if there's no stores open to visit?" he said.

He says seeing some businesses closed on such a busy night, is really disappointing.

Even for businesses that stayed open, it was a close call. Jennifer's boss almost closed for the night too, but with an expected ten thousand people downtown, for some closing down wasn't even an option.

"I would never suggest being closed on a night like that because there's always going to be people looking for a place for afterwards," Mentor said.

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