Following a long period of renovation and a drop in the number of visitors, business owners on Tel Aviv's Shenkin Street are working together to restore its golden era through a series of social events, including street parties and the introduction of new stores.
The merchants launched the initiative as the renovation conducted by the municipality, at a total investment of NIS 30 million ($7.5 million), is drawing to an end.
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During the renovation, the famous shopping street experienced a drop in the number of visitors and business activity as it was blocked for construction work.
About 20 new stores were opened on the street recently. The Tel Aviv Municipality's Business Licensing Division recently approved 49 applications for new businesses on the street, while 22 additional businesses are still pending approval.
"As a resident of this neighborhood for the past 20 years, I am aware of the street's potential," says Yuval Abramovich, who owns a magnet store on Shenkin Street. "Tens of thousands of people would come here on Fridays, not like today.
"In the 1980s it was a cool street, with niche stores and original clothing stores. But then the large chains smelled the success and took over the street, and customers began turning their back on the street because you don't have to come to Shenkin to visit a big chain when you have a shopping mall next door.
"The number of visitors has been dropping steadily for several years now, and the street has lost its charm. At its low there were some 40 vacant stores. But the renovation has turned it into a charming street again and the stores are filling up.
"I arrived with this store, and was followed by a cooking school, a menswear store, a store for second-hand items and more. We're optimistic. We've decided to create content for the street in order to restore its glory days."
According to Ze'ev Sapir, who has owned a printing store on the street for the past 50 years, "The street was renovated for a very long time, and people stayed away before it wasn't fun walking on the street with noise and dirt.
"The year before the renovation was weaker, but there were still a lot of people and many tourists, as this store has a reputation abroad as a tourist spot. The renovation is almost over, it's very nice and we want people to come back."