City of Austin asking local businesses to take F1 survey

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 10 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Formula 1 brought fans and revenue to the state and City of Austin, but it's still up in the air how local businesses fared.

Formula 1 inaugural weekend was hailed a success. City and county officials said plans to control the 120,000 fans traveling to and from the track went off without a hitch. Austin got good press around the world. Airport traffic and revenue was up, but for downtown business owners, the bottom line comes down to location.

It seems business owners along 2nd Street did significantly less business than those just four blocks away.

"We were right in between Fan Fest and the 6th Street entertainment district, and we did well. It was a great weekend. We saw a lot of people. Did much above average business," said Fred Schmidt talking about his store, Wild About Music, across from The Driskill.

Schmidt says his other business across from the W hotel on 2nd Street was a bust. "We saw nobody. It was like a ghost town," he said.

Schmidt says road closures and Fan Fest played a role in business. He says those in the warehouse district, where Fan Fest was mostly set up, did well, but since stages had their backs to 2nd Street, businesses there suffered.

"Therefore people, like, watched the stage but never went behind it, so we were kinda backstage," Schmidt said.

There was a stage at Colorado and 2nd Street, and again one block over at Congress, with 2nd at its back. This cordoning off at Congress could be why traffic didn't make it over the Ann Richards Congress Avenue bridge.

The owner of Mi Casa, James Luedeke says his shop on South Congress did worse than a normal weekend, which hurt because late November is a typically busy time of year.

The City of Austin is encouraging business owners to participate in the online survey to better understand the effects of November's U.S. Grand Prix. City leaders want local business owners to respond to an 18-question online survey.

Click here for the F1 business impact survey.

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