Topeka businesses see boom despite pandemic

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 7:01 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Many downtown Topeka businesses have reported their highest revenue since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Topeka Partnership says many downtown businesses have reported their highest earnings since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March coming after several have announced new COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“We were seeing incredible momentum to start the year. February was our best month ever across the board between Cyrus, Iron Rail and Pennant. March was looking even better and then COVID hit,” said Seth Wagoner, CEO of AIM Strategies LLC. “It’s been a rough few months for everyone, but with so many businesses still working from home, it really hit downtown. The good news is people are starting to venture back out. This past weekend was our best weekend since everything changed in March as more people come back downtown to enjoy the patios, pick up carry out orders and check out the Evergy Plaza. Things seem to be looking up and we’re excited for some new things that are coming.”

“The uptick in downtown patronage is a major indicator that consumer confidence is increasing,” said Vince Frye, president of Downtown Topeka, Inc. “I think the current mask mandate and the Topeka Promise initiative have had a tremendous role to play in this outcome and will continue to influence Topeka’s overall economic recovery.”

Topeka Partnership says the Topeka Promise which was announced in June, allows businesses to display that they are following health and safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It says currently, over 200 businesses have been certified or are in the process of becoming certified.

“Absolute Design by Brenda has definitely seen an upswing in shoppers this week. Both walk-ins and flower orders have been gradually increasing. It was nice to see Evergy Plaza used last Saturday which brought a few new people in,” said Brenda Price, owner of Absolute Design by Brenda.

According to the organization, many businesses are working toward promoting safety as well as healthy commerce by being proactive in their COVID-19 efforts.

The Partnership says many downtown business owners recognize the benefits of enforcing public safety guidelines to help assure their community is safe.

“My store has been totally rearranged for convenience of distancing while shopping. We wear masks and sanitize our check out station for customer’s protection. We are grateful for every sale no matter the amount, just nice to see faces to offer assistance to,” said Price.

“Leaping Llamas is welcoming customers while practicing social distancing and wearing masks,” said Alicia VanWalleghem, owner of Leaping Llamas Artisan Shop. “We are fortunate to have a large floor space and a few customers in at a time to make sure everyone has lots of room while browsing. This has helped keep customers and staff feeling safe and artwork moving.”

To learn more about the Topeka Promise visit

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