Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct Susan Wentworth’s position at Frisco Lodge Bed & Breakfast and Frisco Inn on Galena.
FRISCO — It’s been two weeks since the town of Frisco opened its Main Street Promenade, and business owners are starting to see its effects.
At a virtual business meeting Wednesday, July 1, Frisco Town Council members spoke with business owners about their reactions to the promenade. The results were mixed. While some business owners felt the promenade gave them a much needed boost, others worried that blocking off Main Street is a detriment to their revenue.
Town Manager Nancy Kerry shared a message from Mayor Hunter Mortensen, who was unable to attend the meeting:
“We are health-forward. Everything is about making sure we meet the health standards first so that we can allow businesses to stay open,” Kerry said on Mortensen’s behalf.
In general, restaurant owners are pleased about the outcome of the promenade and are seeing business pick up.
“Being here in the core of the promenade, I just want to reiterate again, (it has been) extremely successful,” Greco’s Pizza owner Jonny Greco said. “Probably, for my business, saving it for the summer.”
However, some retailers and lodgers said the promenade is taking away from their business, with many people just perusing the stores rather than buying anything.
“I’ve heard this from some retailers, that (the shoppers) are millennials that don’t have the money to spend,” council member Dan Fallon said. “They’re just out enjoying the social aspect of the promenade. They’re not out there to shop.”
Susan Wentworth — who co-owns the Frisco Lodge Bed & Breakfast and the Frisco Inn on Galena with her husband, Bruce Knoepful — said in the chat room of the meeting that “the promenade is not highly utilized by any shoppers.”
“Don’t see any guests carrying shopping bags,” she wrote. “Just restaurant areas busy. I sit at 4th and Main and watch kids and bikers cruise into (the) intersection without even slowing down or looking for vehicles crossing. It’s just a matter of time until someone gets injured. It appears great for the restaurants but no one else.”
Knoepful said the promenade has hurt his businesses, one of which is on Main Street, and many of his guests are worried that people aren’t social distancing and wearing masks.
“My guests continue to pass on to me when they go on the promenade they’re extremely worried about the lack of social distancing and mask wearing on Main Street,” he said. “It’s a huge turnoff for them. I just feel the promenade, if it’s going to continue, it needs to be done in a safe way. I don’t think that’s happening.”
Knoepful said he also depends on people being able to see his businesses, which he said is not possible with Main Street closed to traffic.
“We’re really struggling with the promenade because both at the Frisco Lodge and the Frisco Inn on Galena, we depend on people being able to see our businesses,” he said. “Just yesterday, I saw three cars come down Main to the Fifth Avenue barricade, turn around, go back to the Summit Boulevard and leave. I’m just very concerned about the promenade.”
Mary Waldman, owner of Summit Mountain Rentals, said her customers have had a different reaction to the promenade.
“All the guests that I’ve booked to come into town are excited about Main Street being a walkable Main Street,” she said. “Whether they actually come and partake and spend money, but the idea of it is very appealing for them to choose Frisco. … I think it’s fantastic, and I’d love to see the Main Street promenade stay open.”
Bob Kato, owner of Tavern West, said that although his business is not included in the promenade, he’s supportive of anything that brings visitors to town.
“It doesn’t help me out at all down where I’m at,” Kato said. “The main thing about the promenade, and I’ve gotten feedback from my customers that come there, is that it’s a real good experience. Even though the promenade probably hurts me, if it’s bringing people into Frisco … then it’s good for everybody.”
Any changes that might be made to the regulations surrounding the promenade will be determined at the Town Council meeting July 14.