TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — After more than a year, many people in Terre Haute are saying they are returning to their normal lives pre-COVID-19.
Not only are local businesses seeing more customers but the city of Terre Haute is seeing the return of community events, which play a pivotal part in the local economy.
“We estimate that visitors between overnights and regional visitors that don’t overnight, it averages out to about 200 dollars per person,” David Patterson, executive director of Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. “So you multiply that by the attendees and you can see what that means pre-COVID-19, tourism was a 30 million dollar industry in Terre Haute.”
Local shops are also happy to see business pick up back up.
“I almost feel like a superhero,” Willow Gift & Home owner Heather Wolf said. “At this point where it’s OK if I weathered that, I can whether anything because it did unfortunately take out a lot of small businesses and so I feel really happy and really grateful just that our customers got us through it.”
Over the last few weeks, Terre Haute has hosted the Nelly concert at the Mill, festivals, Indiana’s special Olympics and a memorial drag racing event just to name a few. Patterson said each of those events has helped put money back into the community.
“It’s the hotel, it’s gas. It’s the retail. It’s food,” Patterson said. “We have over 200 restaurants so the food and beverage tax. That one percent goes to the operating of the convention center that will open in April.”
For Heather Wolf, seeing the community return to some type of normalcy provides positive light.
“It is so encouraging to be having the downtown Friday events again and concerts are starting again,” Wolf said. “So just those type of events are so fun and just are something different and exciting in town.”
Patterson said the city is looking forward to a strong fall schedule as well. For Willow Gift & Home, they will be celebrating their ninth year anniversary this Saturday as they host an event.