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New businesses come to downtown Topeka along with new Visit Topeka President

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:32 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Downtown Topeka welcomed its newest business Wednesday, Ash Boutique, a women’s clothing store that features lounge, work wear, jewelry and accessories.

Owner Ashley Dassinger-Carson, a 2004 graduate of Washburn Rural High School, said having a storefront in the downtown district has always been a goal of hers and she feels now the time is right.

“Downtown is just in this wonderful place where I know it’s going to boom we have hospitality, we have restaurants and the next step is retail and I wanted to be here and I knew if I didn’t take the plunge downtown I would regret it later on.”

Dassinger-Carson said opening amid the pandemic carries risks, but she is confident the shop can thrive with its online store and community already built.

“It is a hard time and it is a big leap of faith but women still need to shop,” she said.

“It’s a place to go where you can feel loved and supported and I really believe that when women look their best, feel their best then they can go do their best and that’s really what we’re here to provide.”

New businesses also attract tourism; new Visit Topeka President Sean Dixon, who is coming to the job from Springfield, Missouri, said opportunity is still present even during the pandemic.

”Coming into this year I know Topeka was experiencing a lot of growth downtown here in particular was doing very well unfortunately, COVID kind of derailed things for everybody so it’s kind of a reset here and I think recognizing that opportunity and what Topeka can be as a destination is very exciting and appealing to me and I look forward to working on that,” he said.

Dixon said to highlight the opportunities, he plans to conduct a full review of all marketing and sales efforts by Visit Topeka to make sure Topeka’s best assets are highlighted as well as all things to see and do.

Dixon said he is encouraged by the businesses that continue to set ground in Topeka even amid the pandemic.

“To see that spark and that interest in building us up again I think it shows light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Some of those businesses include Axe and Ale, downtown’s first axe-throwing, which opens Friday.

Co-owner Tom Cox said the idea came to him and his friends just under a year ago and now they’re ready to bring a new experience downtown.

“I think people in Topeka are constantly looking for more activities to do, reasons to go out and I think this is such a great activity that’s thrived in so many other cities and metros is that it’s a way to do something fun with your friends, have a drink hang out encourage more that just let’s go to a bar--no let’s go do something.”

Cox said bringing an activity downtown was a motivator for launching the business to complement other bars downtown.

Both businesses offer ways to help protect customers during the pandemic.

Ash Boutique offers free local delivery for those who cannot or choose not to shop in the store.

Axe and Ale will initially limit the amount of axe throwing lanes to rent out to adhere to social distancing.

Copyright 2020 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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