The Rapid City council faces the question of whether the Summer Nights event continue to be held downtown. Some business owners say the weekly event cripples their business, others welcome the surge of people downtown. The city hired a consultant to conduct a study to determine if Summer Nights should remain downtown.
Downtown business managers and owners gathered Monday night to hear the results of a study conducted by consultant, Roger Brooks. After doing a number of surveys he recommends that the city keep Summer Nights downtown and put it on Main Street. Brooks says this type of event is vital to keeping downtown alive. He also says that these types of events are good opportunities to build community and bring people together.
Stephanie Seljeskog, the owner of Bella of the Black Hills clothing boutique on St. Joseph Street says she loses too much business during Summer Nights. "Usually our busiest days of the week are Thursdays and Saturdays," she said. "Thursdays because people are trying to come in before the weekend and get outfits and accessories."
Seljeskog says her sales were 20 percent down this summer. "With that being closed during our busiest times we're seeing fewer sales,"said Seljeskog.
Rhonda Mumm, the manager of Vita Sana Olive Oil Company says the Summer Nights helped her store. "We had a lot of people come back down after Summer Nights, come back because they saw us during that time," Mumm said.
Mumm says downtown needs Summer Nights. "I definitely support keeping summer nights in Downtown Rapid City, I think it's good for the downtown," said Mumm.
Roger Brooks also recommended to the council that Main Street not be blocked off until 3pm and vendors be put in the middle of the street so they do not block the stores downtown.
The city council will make a final decision Wednesday at the Legal and Finance meeting.