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Highlands' Businesses Expect Financial Boom, Exposure With Cyclouvia

Cyclouvia 2012
Cyclouvia 2012

Cyclouvia is on Bardstown Road this weekend for the sixth year in a row.

For four hours Sunday afternoon, the street and part of Baxter Avenue will be closed to cars from Broadway to Douglass Boulevard, opening the streets for people to walk, bike, skate and dance.

Since the event first began in 2012, it's drawn tens of thousands of participants and spread to other Louisville neighborhoods and thoroughfares, including Frankfort Avenue, West Broadway and Goss Avenue. But in 2012, some local business owners along Bardstown Road were skeptical that shutting down the street to car traffic would bring economic benefits.

Now, after five successful years, many say the annual event is a financial boon.

“If nothing else, it’s introducing people that may not have come to our area to our businesses,” said Ashley Isaacs, marketing director of Wick’s Pizza Parlor. “They’re getting to see Wick’s and O’Sheas and Molly Malone's and all these bars and restaurants that they may not have gone to or may not have known about.”

David Phillips at Molly Malone's Irish Pub agrees. The bar and restaurant has been in town for 19 years, and Phillips said any exposure to the bar will help business. At this point in October though, the weather on Sunday will have a lot to do with how Cyclouvia impacts them.

Even corporate stores that rely on drive-thru traffic see benefits from the event. Shift Leader Robert Bryant has worked at the McDonald's near Mid City Mall for 13 years and said Cyclouvia almost triples foot-business to the store. The foot-traffic, he said, makes up for the lack in drive-thru purchases.

“I think it’s a good thing for Bardstown Road, period,” Bryant said. “Any event that helps Bardstown Road grow as far as making money, we welcome it.”

For Isaiah Baker, owner of Did it For My Dogs Social Daycare — a grooming and pet center — this will be his first Cyclouvia. Baker sees pros and cons with the event, but said at the very least it will bring attention to his business. He just opened in July and he plans to have a grand opening this winter.

“It may deter a little bit of [small businesses’] clientele base or customers away, but outside of that I think it would be beneficial for the community overall,” Baker said. “It’s going to bring a lot more attention to this area and people can see the new businesses and see the older businesses that are still withstanding over the years.”

Since it began in 2012, Cyclouvia has gathered tens of thousands of people for its events according to the event’s website.

Cyclouvia starts Oct. 22 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Bardstown Road from Douglass Boulevard to Highland Avenue, and Baxter Avenue from Highland Avenue to East Broadway will be closed to motorized vehicles for the event.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.