WaterFire Sharon brings economic boost

SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) — WaterFire Sharon brings thousands of people downtown, giving businesses a big boost.

For one business all the foot traffic was enough for them to close up their booth at WaterFire and open a store.

Walk into AEtheric Alchemy and you’re instantly greeted by a calming aroma.

“We set this up to try to bring some art and holistic ideals to downtown here,” said Odin Smith, AEtheric Alchemy.

Odin and Alanna’s booth at WaterFire last year was a big success. This year, they got a call asking them to fill an empty store front on East State Street for WaterFire.

“Everybody that walked through the door was saying we needed something like this so badly here,” said Smith.

That’s one of the goals of WaterFire – to develop arts and culture downtown. Odin sees it as the future of downtown Sharon.

“I for see the little boutiques and shops down here. Things where people want to spend the day on the street and sitting by the river and having some lunch,” said Smith.

AEetheric Alchemy isn’t the only store that’s opened since WaterFire came to Sharon. Thyme in Your Kitchen is new and an Urban Barn is opening soon.

“It’s painted vintage furniture,” said Robert McCracken, Sharon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce says WaterFire has helped ignite revitalization, growth and economic development. The executive director makes it a point to bring people downtown.

“With WaterFire, we’re walking around seeing the businesses and then we’re seeing our spouses coming back and spending money,” said McCracken.

Back at AEtheric Alchemy they’re gearing up for the next WaterFire and already talking about expanding.

“Hoping to make kind of a permanent home in Sharon and that’s because of WaterFire,” said Smith.

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