New entertainment district brings retail boom to downtown Hamilton

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Hamilton's outdoor entertainment district, named the Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area -- the DORA -- is bringing the city to life in a new way, according to local business owners such as Sherry Hoskins. 

"When we found out about DORA, we were super excited," said Hoskins, who owns a custom candle company called Petals and Wicks. "The night it opened, the place was packed around here."

The DORA, which includes much of the downtown area east of the Great Miami River as well as a large part of the west side, is a zone where customers can buy a cup of alcohol and walk around different areas of downtown Hamilton. 

"Any little thing we can do to draw people in will help," Hoskins said. "DORA is definitely one of those that has helped draw people in."

It debuted a little more than two months ago and has been a big success. 

"It keeps increasing," said Mallory Greenham of the Hamilton Economic Development Department. "We're going through an estimated 600 cups a week. That's just a few months in."

That's about 6,000 cups sold in less than three months. 

"Retail shops are seeing an uptick," Greenham said. "Customers perusing around in their store. Window shopping, and coming in and shopping."

The DORA also encourages shoppers and residents to explore areas of Downtown Hamilton that they might not normally see.

"It's really cool to see people travel from Main Street to High Street, and vice versa," Hoskins said. "It's cool to see that. See people enjoying our downtown area as a whole."

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