CINCINNATI -- A vendor at Findlay Market points to one reason she thinks business is booming: the streetcar.
Barb Cooper and her husband operate a fresh produce and specialty shop called Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market and launched Cincinnati Food Tours in 2012 to introduce visitors to Findlay Market, share culinary experiences and spread her enthusiasm for Over-the-Rhine. She says some stores have reported a 30 percent increase in sales since the streetcar started traversing Cincinnati's streets.
"The excitement around it is just amazing. Most of the people that are coming on my tours live in the suburbs and they’ve heard about the streetcar. They’ve heard about Over-the-Rhine’s revitalization, and they really need somebody to help them navigate it to see what’s really here," Cooper said.
At Fresh Table in Findlay Market, clerk Bobby Vargas said they've seen a 16 percent increase in monthly sales. He said they often ask whether people rode the streetcar to get there and that many customers do.
Brad Hughes, owner of Artichoke on Elm less than one block from Findlay Market, said two or three people each week come in his store, announcing they saw the business from the streetcar and got off at the next stop to visit. He added that somebody who physically walks in his door usually makes a purchase and that the streetcar was a critical reason for locating his store on Elm Street. He didn't provide figures but said he'd also noticed an uptick in sales since the streetcar's introduction.
Cooper's "Taste the Streetcar Tour" runs every other Saturday, featuring a mix of casual and upscale restaurants, bars and specialty shops in OTR and Downtown. The three-hour tour (cue the Gilligan Island theme music!) includes an introduction to the streetcar, at least four food samples and one glass of beer or wine. Reservations are required at the website here . Private tour options are also available for groups of six to eight.
Every tour since October has been sold out, Cooper said, adding that she's hosted six private tours. Tickets cost $50.