Coalition to Help Businesses Not Downtown

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Gervasio Amato is creating a coalition with other businesses to draw more traffic to his business, L' Italia.

Manager of L'Italia Teresa Hammer said right now business is not bad but the location takes away a lot of locals.

"We're kind off the beaten track here. We are not downtown and the businesses downtown. People get out to lunch. They can't just walk over here," Hammer said.

She said few locals come to the restaurant.

"Our location is not great. We are not downtown. We are not near to the JMU college housing," she said.

She said their business comes mostly from tourists.

However, Amato said, some of the tourists are not stopping at the restaurant because signs to go downtown are now on Port Republic Road.

"So people they're skipping the 33 they're going all the way to Main Street," he said.

Amato said he hopes the coalition will bring locals and tourists to his restaurant.

He said the coalition will include restaurants from the city and Harrisonburg Tourism.

He said the members of the coalition will have the opportunity to advertise together.

Amato said they will also create brochures for Harrisonburg Tourism to hand out to visitors.

"The tourists feel more comfortable with.. to go to our restaurant if we offer them a deal," he said.

Hammer said the coalition might help restaurants set themselves apart from chain restaurants.

"It might help especially for people that travel that don't like chains and they look for smaller restaurants and family owned," she said.

Amato also said they are hoping to create an event like the 'Taste of Downtown' with the restaurants in the city that join the coalition.

Amato said the coalition is just in its preliminary stages. He said he hopes it will start in two months.

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