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Community Shows Support for Downtown Mall and City Market Merchants

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Community members on the Downtown Mall Community members on the Downtown Mall
The community supporting Downtown Mall businesses The community supporting Downtown Mall businesses
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

If the open sign is out, customers are buying. Several businesses in the secure zone on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall say the community is stepping up and stepping out in a show of support.

People enjoying a warm, but pleasant, summer evening on the downtown mall and normally that wouldn't make news. But in light of a mass police presence on this one year anniversary of the violence surrounding the Unite the Right rally, with the sound of state police choppers circling, it's welcome relief to businesses that stayed open.

Will Curley manages Brassiere Saison. He says his lunch crowd may be different than a usual summer Saturday, but it's steady.

“We’re excited, we've seen a great response from the community,” he stated. “There’s a lot less tourists, but what we are seeing is such a robust community presence here.  Everybody that lives in this area, everybody that works in this area is coming down to support local businesses.”

Local businesses on the downtown mall are surrounded by a heavy police presence, to make sure business can go on, as usual.

Cynthia Viejo and her wife are normally serving bagels at the weekend city market, but its one venue shut down this year as a precaution, so they're displaying their support as customers.

“We live in Charlottesville. We're the bagel ladies,” Viejo stated. “Nobody puts baby in a corner, and so we were there last year and it was scary.  We had to break down at 10:30 as you well know last year was a really scary time so we're back here again.”

Kim Malone manages Chaps, a staple on the downtown mall. Chaps is the spot to cool off on a warm summer day and Malone says the police presence might add up to a profitable weekend.

“Well, we've been really busy since I’ve opened the doors this morning,” she stated. “It’s unbelievable, I think people are actually coming out down here, they feel safer and like I said, we've been nonstop.  I think it's going to go on into the night.  We are not going to close until 11 o'clock tonight and I believe we'll still have a line out that door tonight for shakes and ice cream,” she stated.

So while you can find plenty of closed signs on the Downtown Mall, you will also find plenty of places to dine and shop open as well. Yes, downtown Charlottesville is open for business this weekend, and shop owners hope you come down to support them.      

Earlier in the day, City Market vendors had a good turnout, even though it wasn't held in its usual spot. The market was held at the Ix Art Park.

Not as many vendors were at Ix Art Park as there are normally at the downtown market but many people were out enjoying themselves eating and shopping. Some people told us they like the location because it is less crowded and better looking with the art around.

One Ix co-founder, Susan Krischel, says it was important to have the market this weekend. “When we learned the City Market was going to be closed this weekend, a bunch of vendors came to us and said ‘this is our livelihood and you know we can't grow vegetables, pick them off the vine and then rot,’ so it was really important to us to try and create a sense of normalcy this weekend, to be the Charlottesville everyone knows we are."

The City Market will be back at its regular location in downtown Charlottesville next weekend.