Free downtown parking, an incentive to shop local

Updated: Nov. 25, 2022 at 12:59 PM CST
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Clarification: Free parking will be each Saturday in December.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Parking in downtown Rapid City will be free during this holiday season, one of the busiest times of the year for businesses. With the free parking, the city hopes more people will spend time and money downtown.

The National Retail Federation says sales during November and December average 20 percent of a business’s yearly revenue. To promote downtown shopping, Rapid City is offering free parking starting Thanksgiving through Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, 10, 17, and 24.

“We just want to encourage people to get out and spend some time downtown. We know the holidays can be a stressful time and impact people’s budgets, so we thought that this was a good way to cut people a little break,” says Anna Gilligan, parking operations manager for Rapid City.

Over the years, Black Hills Vinyl has seen the city test out different parking incentives, like half-off parking, but when it is free they say there is a difference. “You’ll see like a relief in customers if they get up, especially in our store where there is so much to look at. Like knowing they don’t have to pay for that meter or rush out to make sure they don’t get a ticket,” said Jennifer Calabrese, owner of Black Hills Vinyl.

With the stress of paying a meter gone, Calabrese says she sees a lot more people walking around downtown, and seeing what she says, makes Rapid City special.

In addition to it being the busiest season of the year for Black Hills Vinyl, they get to share their favorite gift, music. “You know there’s a reason that they say music is a gift or give the gift of music; it’s such a sharing experience,” expressed Calabrese. “You can share ... you know, your love of music with whoever is a gift of music. So, we see many people buying music as gifts for Christmas.”