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Businesses bank on rink, art walk to draw customers

By: Don Chaddock Telegraph Managing Editor
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As skaters packed the recently opened outdoor ice rink and potential customers strolled Sutter Street for the Second Saturday Art Walk, merchants are hoping the business district’s investment pays off. Erik Loigom, co-owner of Wine Styles on Sutter Street, said he thought the money the merchant association spent to revive the ice rink was worth it. “It’s going good,” he said as customers trickled in. “(The ice rink) was worth the investment. At the end of the day, if people come down, they spend money.” The rink and Second Saturday are ways the Folsom Historic District Association seeks to draw more customers to an area that has been impacted by road closures and sidewalk removals for the better part of 2010. Cricket Loigom, co-owner of Wine Styles, agreed. “We love it,” she said. “It’s the greatest thing (the district) can do. Second Saturday generates new people on the street, people not just from Folsom.” At Gemini Jewelry Gallery, owner Gloria Fleeman was optimistic. “It hasn’t been as busy as we’ve seen it in the past, but it is probably due to construction,” she said. “People just don’t know if they can get down here or not with the streets having been so torn up.” About a half dozen people mingled in her gallery. “It’s better since we have a sidewalk,” Fleeman laughed. Scott Farquhar, of Folsom, strolled into Sutter Street Theatre, one of the many stops on the art walk. “I’ve been coming for a long time,” he said, referring to a similar event Folsom had years ago before it was revived. “Luckily someone from the (historic district) association put it together. I think they need consistency and do it every month. It will just grow from here.” He pointed to downtown Sacramento’s popular Second Saturday event as an example. “When (they) started it, they only had a few people and look at it now,” he said. “This is just the foundation.” Jennifer Ip, owner of Victoria Chocolatier, sees the art walk and the ice rink as creative ways to market the district. “It’s perfect for me because there are a lot of people,” she said. “I always hold a chocolate buffet on Second Saturday, so it works.” She said finding new ways to bring people to the district are necessary. “It’s a alternate way to help draw people in,” Ip said. “I hope it continues. You get people from other cities in here like Fair Oaks, Citrus Heights, Roseville, Rancho Cordova and El Dorado Hills. People come to this from the surrounding area.” She too said the ice rink, started in part with seed money from the merchant association, is well worth the cost. “It’s a good investment,” Ip said. “The rink is a draw. People want to know they can come and do something. People have been pretty positive.”