Downtown Hollywood struggles to retain small businesses, lure shoppers

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Business has dropped by at least 30 percent over the past two years for Mari Crabtree, manager of Sushi Blues on downtown Hollywood’s Harrison Street. Downtown Hollywood has seen its fair share of boom and bust recently, a cycle that can only be partially attributed to the larger economic environment. Despite the city’s efforts to lure shoppers with revamped landscaping, a new ArtsPark and green-lit high-rise condos, many residents still do their shopping at malls and head to the beach or to more established nightlife spots when they are looking for entertainment. As a result, Hollywood businesses continue to come and go with haste: 20 new businesses have opened there during the past year, whereas stretches of the Harrison Street area are now filled only with vacant storefronts. Though the downtown Community Redevelopment Agency no longer tracks the vacancy rate, last year it was 22 percent, and shop owners attest to its worrisome climb. “It’s hard to do business when there are not a lot of other businesses on the street,” Crabtree said. [Miami Herald]

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