There was a time, not so long ago, when the economy was booming and most people didn’t give a second thought to leisurely spending a day shopping, dining and exploring. Downtown entertainment districts were generally packed, money was being spent, and good times were had by many! From casual, friendly small-town shops and restaurants to urban hotspots showcasing the latest dining and fashion trends, business was on the rise.
Today, with the economy on the mend, people are still shopping, dining out and having fun; but many are doing so in cautious moderation. As a result, competition among businesses is fierce, and many once-thriving downtown shopping districts now have to work twice as hard to attract the typical consumer’s attention!
Cities all across the country now ask themselves, what can we do to persuade citizens to give these hard-hit shopping districts a second chance? Surprisingly, the answer doesn’t have to include a multi-million dollar renovation plan!
There are many affordable and easy-to-implement options that cities can employ to reinvigorate these areas. In fact, one of the simplest, best kept secrets of a successful downtown shopping district is…park benches! Skeptical? Understandable, but think about it this way: when it comes down to it, getting people to these areas is only half the battle. What’s even more important is convincing them to stick around for longer than just an hour or two! Park benches provide visitors with a place to sit and relax, giving them a reason to extend their shopping trip.
Three Creative Ways To Energize Downtown Shopping Areas Using Park Benches
While strategically adding park benches throughout the district is a good start, you can’t just install them and call it a day. There has to be a little more thought put into it! Park benches are available in a variety of colors, sizes and styles – so find something that fits your specific area and have fun with it! Here are just a few ways cities can creatively incorporate park benches:
• Go Green: Environmental awareness is very important to many consumers today. Choose park benches constructed from 100% recycled plastic and surround them with beautiful flowers, plants and most importantly, recycling bins!
• Support The Arts: Art is a sure bet when it comes to conversation starters! Art enthusiasts and casual observers alike generally have something to say about a piece of artwork. Try incorporating the local arts scene into your sitting area. Surround park benches with sculptures, fountains, and various other pieces commissioned by local artists. Many people will consider it worth a visit simply to check out the artwork!
• Add Some Local Flavor: If your city is known for a particular food, sport, or important historical figure, integrate it into your downtown area! For example, include a statue or sculpture representing a hometown hero, famous entertainer, or regional symbol. Not only will this give people something to look at while sitting on the park benches, but it will also appeal to tourists!
Whichever direction you decide to pursue, the integration of park benches into a city’s downtown landscape is an ideal first step to improving the bottom line for local businesses and stimulating the economy.