Downtown Syracuse Business and Property Owners,

As we enter a new month of business operations during COVID-19, “consumer confidence” is the name of the game.

As of July 1, two-thirds of our street-level businesses (retail, restaurant, services) in Downtown Syracuse have re-opened . Customers can choose from 70 food and drink establishments, 45 retail stores and service-based businesses (banks, hotels, etc.), and 18 salons and spas – all within Downtown’s 82 blocks!

Most businesses Downtown are now eligible to re-open – but are customers comfortable coming back? What will make them choose your business for their next meal, shopping trip, or outing? Here are a few tips on how you can help build their confidence:
Show and Tell: How we’re keeping customers safe
Take a look at the business safety plan you put together for New York State as part of your two-step reopening procedure . You’ve taken steps to make sure customers are safe, but what additional steps have you taken to make sure customers feel safe?

Remember that your customers don’t know the contents of your safety plan. Customers want to know what steps you’re taking -- not just when they set foot in the door, but before they decide where to shop, dine, and visit. Knowing what to expect from a business – and what that business expects from its customers – can make consumers more confident about dining out, shopping, and visiting offices and entertainment venues. It’s up to you , the business owner, to communicate those steps.

  • Post onsite signage to inform customers about new policies and procedures. When customers arrive at your retail store, is there clear signage at the door stating customer expectations (wear a face covering, use the sanitizer provided before entering, stay six feet apart, etc.)? Does your register area have six-foot markers to keep customers safely distanced while they wait to check out? Have you marked six-foot distances on your bar, and posted signs that masks are required unless seated?
  • Take pictures and video of the changes you’ve made, and share on your Facebook, Instagram, and web pages. Post a video showing masked servers cleaning tables in between seatings. If you offer multiple options for restaurant diners (e.g., indoor seating, outdoor seating, delivery, curbside pickup), post photos of each option online so customers with varying comfort levels understand they have a choice. Planning to reopen soon? Share an Instagram story listing the changes you’ve made to welcome customers back. Tag us in your posts so we can help spread the word (Facebook: @downtownsyracuse, Twitter: @downtownSYR, Instagram: downtownsyracuse)

For more messaging ideas, check out page 26 in the Streetsense Re-Opening Toolkit posted on our website.
What experience are you creating for visitors – today, and beyond COVID?
The Downtown Committee of Syracuse is proud to release our first-ever Storefront Tips guide , compiling examples from downtown districts across the U.S. and internationally. We all know how it feels to stroll through a great commercial district, but have you ever considered how individual businesses’ design decisions work to shape that feeling? Storefront Tips walks you through four design elements -- Signage, Lighting, Windows, and Outdoor Space -- and demonstrates how these components combine to attract customers, enhance street appeal, and create a continuous downtown experience. Download it for free here , or request your printed copy by emailing .