Some local business owners say they want changes to next years NewBo Evolve festival
Even before the stage from NewBo Evolve is torn down, Go Cedar Rapids says it will be back next year. But organizers say there will be changes, too.
Go Cedar Rapids says the goal of Newbo Evolve was to do something never done before in Cedar Rapids. To that end, it was a success.
Several businesses in and around New Bo complained to KCRG and on social media about slow sales during the festival. Go Cedar Rapids President Aaron McCreight tells me they will talk to business owners about ways to improve. One item he's already identified is organizing the flow of crowds.
He explains, "Where the most people are going to be at certain times. Making sure that we have the appropriate infrastructure, staff, amenities in place at those times, and maybe not when they’re not needed.”
McCreight says they hope to have the final tallies on how many people showed up, and how much revenue generated pretty soon. They do have to pay back a half million dollars in loans from the city's hotel-motel tax
Bart Carithers owns ‘Next Page Books’ in the NewBo District. He says NewBo Evolve caused a rough weekend for him.
He says, “We did about a third of the business that we would normally do in the first weekend of August. We depend very heavily on summer weekend sales to make it through the year. So this was sort of a loss weekend for us."
Carithers says his customers didn't want to deal with the street closures. He likes the idea of NewBo Evolve, he just wants to have a seat at the table when they start planning next year's event.
He says, "Not in specifics of the festival, but certainly, street closures, parking, those types of issues."
Swisher company Cedar Ridge was among businesses running pop-up shops during the festival, but with many events scattered downtown, Owner Jeff Quint says business was slow most of the day.
He says, "If you go to music festivals and I know this is more than a music festival, you're going to see one or two music tents playing all day long every day, so maybe in the future we see more of that addition to the event."
Overall he calls NewBo Evolve a success. He adds, "We want to be back, and we want to continue supporting the event. Give it a few years to develop, and I think it will be great for the community.”
The owner of Parlor City says they hit their sales goals for the weekend, and that Saturday was their best day in sales ever.