TOLEDO, Ohio — After an uncertain 2020 summer, businesses were ready for a normal summer in downtown Toledo. And newer spots like Firefly and Hannon's Block did better than expected.
"It exceeded all of our expectations," said Geoff Scott, Firefly managing partner. "We started out a little nervous about COVID, not knowing what was going to happen and the crowds just came out and we were thrilled."
Michael Stancati, owner of Hannon's Block, stressed support from the community has not stopped since they opened their doors on St. Patrick's Day.
"We didn't choose the time that we went to open," he said, "but I couldn't be prouder of what we've accomplished through these times and what the business has done."
Both Scott and Stancati say big events really played a role in bringing people back downtown whether it was Mud Hens games or the Solheim Cup.
"That's all we've heard is 'we're so thankful to have a life again and to be able to get out of the house again, and be able to just talk to our neighbors and talk to our friends downtown and watch the Mud Hens games'," said Scott."
Stancati believes every event from the summer concert series to simple movie nights at Promenade Park have helped draw people back.
"Each one has been great for the city of Toledo and it's great to bring new people into new businesses like ourselves," he added.
Both owners agree opening during a pandemic was not ideal but know that it won't last forever. And their bets for long-term opportunity are on downtown.
"Listen we want more bars and restaurants to open down here because it brings more people down here for all of us," said Scott.
"Whether it be retail, restaurants, we really feel that the future of Toledo is in downtown," said Stancati.