Businesses determine future on State Street following months of challenges

MADISON, Wis.– Madison’s Central Business Improvement District is conducting a survey among State Street businesses to determine how many will return following months of challenges.

Out of the 152 businesses on State Street, 100 have already responded with both positive and negative answers, according to Executive Director Tiffany Kenney.

“I’m seeing some scare, some feelings that businesses are not going to reopen,” Kenney said.

Kenney said businesses have faced many challenges so far this year.

“Getting through 10 weeks of the COVID-19 crisis after a really cold winter, where State Street isn’t that busy in January anyway,” Kenney said. “That’s really more the factors that are weighing on businesses.”

Jason Xia bought Mediterranean Cafe about two weeks before the coronavirus pandemic began in the United States. He said his restaurant was making about 30 percent of normal revenue and was forced to become more resourceful. Right as business was returning to normal, people began damaging property on State Street.

“Our employees (were) very nervous and even crying. They said, ‘Oh, how (are) things going to go like this?'” Xia said.

Now, Xia is evaluating what the future of his business will look like.

“That is my concern right now, because (were) planning to open longer before,” Xia said. “It depends on the situation right now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, plus the protest.”

Kenney said the community has come together to both raise money for businesses that suffered damages last week and turn State Street into a walking art display.