Seminole Heights businesses suffer as search for killer continues

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For six years, Southern Brewing and Winemaking has called Nebraska Avenue home. It’s one of a growing number of brewpubs that have made Seminole Heights a hot spot in town.

But a series of murders has threatened businesses and investments in the area.

“It’s really taken a slump a fairly significant slump. Noticeably after a certain time at night. When it starts getting dark and close to the 9:00 hour we really slow down,” said Kelly Dempsey of Southern Brewing and Wine Making.

“A lot of people are nervous to come into Seminole Heights. I’ve been here 24 years myself and nothing like this has ever happened,” said Stan Lasater, president of the Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association

Lasater and others want to figure out how to bring people back to the neighborhood and help businesses impacted by the recent murders.

“So one of the things we are trying to do with the restaurant owners is find creative ways to get their seats filled. We don’t want to lose any of our restaurants because they have supported us, they’ve made this neighborhood what it truly is today,” said Lasater.

Among their plans, is a shuttle bus to bring people to the businesses, so they don’t have to walk. They are also trying to encourage local celebrities to come out to sign autographs and pose for photos.

“We’ll buy their dinner, just to try and get people to come into some of these restaurants. We’re trying to come up with like coupon books, maybe to get people to venture out, try some of the restaurants,” said Lasater.

Dempsey appreciates the effort.

“I’ve seen a lot of calls to action, where they’ve asked the residents to come out and support their local businesses and I think that’s amazing and I really appreciate it. I don’t know how much that’s going to overcome the stigma, but I appreciate their support very much,” she said.

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