News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, July 22, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Downtown Augusta has been in the spotlight since the First Friday shooting two weeks ago. Business owners say all the negative publicity is hurting the downtown area.
Some business owners are trying to bring more people into their stores in a unique way. It is a fun family activity for adults and kids to explore new stores throughout Augusta through a scavenger hunt in search of Waldo.
Erica Hawes says she hasn't been downtown in years.
"I used to never go downtown because I heard it was dangerous, but it's getting pretty good and safe for the kids, so I'm like loving it," she said.
The Where's Waldo scavenger hunt brought her and her family back to the area.
"It kinda like drew me in, like it's awesome, and I can have the kids come with me tag along," she said. "We have fun."
The scavenger hunt includes 18 different stores all having a Waldo cut-out. The stores range from art galleries to book stores, restaurants and more.
"There are a few businesses that you may not even know existed," said Katie Lucas, manager of the Book Tavern. "This is a great way to just walk in there with a reason, without any obligation to buy anything, just to see that they're here and that was a big part of it. Just letting people know what's out there."
It introduces people to new stores and helps the businesses grow.
"They just grow, that they're not forgotten about, that people will go back and repeat business and tell their friends about it," Lucas said.
The Book Tavern is the store who is hosting the whole event. It's just one way local business owners are trying to get people back to the area.
"We're always trying to get people to come back downtown, so this is a good way to do it because a lot of these business involved are local independent business located in downtown," she said.
Hawes says she had never been into any of the stores before, but now, she'll definitely be back.
"There are so many different other revenues and stores I don't even know about, so why not?" Hawes said.
They say they have had a couple hundred participants so far. If you want to participate, it goes through the end of July.
The stores participating are:
-Art on Broad
-Augusta Canal Gift Shop
-Augusta Visitor's Center
-Brigan's Land of Enchantment
-The Book Tavern
-Casella Eye Center
-Killer B Disc Golf
-Mema Had One
-Morris Museum Gift Shop
-New Moon Cafe
-Two Moms Cookies