Holiday season has downtown business owners hopeful

Davis Rhorer of Downtown Development
Davis Rhorer of Downtown Development
Scott Varnadoe, Owner and Executive Chef of Ipo Restaurant
Scott Varnadoe, Owner and Executive Chef of Ipo Restaurant

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Downtown business owners are excited about the holiday season especially since the traffic of visitors has increased from more events occurring in the area.

Businesses are popping up more and more. Just this year alone, new restaurants and bars have opened up along Third Street, with several new projects and renovations underway. According to Davis Rhorer of Downtown Development, it is all possible because the area is getting increasingly popular.

"We started out with 50-70 people many, many years ago. It's now thousands of people that come downtown. Last year, we had 15,000 down here," said Rhorer.

The Downtown Baton Rouge area has hosted more than 200 public events in Town Square, and every event is an opportunity for businesses to rake in some cash.

The Downtown Tree Lighting event held Friday, December 6th, in Baton Rouge is one of the oldest yuletide traditions. With Christmas just weeks away, business owners are hoping these thousands of people will provide plenty of revenue.

Scott Varnadoe is the part time owner and executive chef of Ipo on Third Street. His restaurant opened almost a year ago, serving bayou eggs, bon temps shrimp, and much more, especially for the Tree Lighting on Friday night.

"We're going to do some specials tonight, probably drink specials. I'm going to do a duck special with faux sauce," said Varnadoe.

The Ipo also remodeled their upstairs office to make the area available to the public, transforming it into 'The Breakroom'. The Breakroom was unveiled Friday night.

Varnadoe commented, "Tonight will be the first time anybody takes a look at it."

Other businesses were also looking forward to Friday night, hoping an eventful holiday season will be a reflection of a banner year. Davis Rhorer says, on such occasions, downtown is sure to be booming.

"Anytime there's something going on, it's going to bring people; Halloween- it brings people downtown to Third Street," he said.

With something happening on every corner and in between, one of America's great downtown revivals is just the beginning of a real change within the city.

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