RACINE, Wis. — Downtown Racine is seeing a lot of growth when it comes to new small businesses.

What You Need To Know

  • Downtown Racine added 35 new businesses in 2022
  • Grant funding helped some get off the ground
  • They're collaborating on efforts to help promote other businesses 
  • Only nine downtown businesses closed in 2022

According to data from the Downtown Racine Corporation, which works to promote business downtown, 35 new businesses opened up in 2022.

Their data also shows nine businesses closed downtown during that same time-span.

While many small businesses continue to face economic challenges, it is a sign that things are looking up in downtown Racine.

Kelly Kruse serves as director of the Racine Downtown Corporation. Kruse said she is pleased to see growth in the city.

Kruse credits a variety of new business grants for the growth, but said there are other factors too.

She said downtown businesses are working together to cross-promote each other.

Hosting multiple events throughout the year that drive people to downtown also makes a big difference.

“Those are all meant so people have to walk up and down Main Street and 6th Street in order to enjoy the event, actually go into the stores,” said Kruse. “We want to make sure people are getting out and walking the streets and look in the windows and say, ‘I want to shop there.’”

Danae Vinson opened one of the 35 new businesses in town. Vinson owns Goddess Nail and Beauty Bar, which opened up shop in April 2022.

Vinson said she has appreciated how much businesses work together to promote downtown.

Vinson said she believes that the greater variety of businesses that exist, the more likely it is to drive people to the community.

“They can tell their patrons to come down here and get their nails done. I can send them to their bar and so it does help a lot to have surrounding businesses,” said Vinson.

Vinson received a local small business grant to help with starting her business. It’s something she said made a difference when generating capital to start the business.​