Fourth Avenue businesses are experiencing ups and downs while navigating the “new normal”

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Historic Fourth Avenue in downtown Tucson is known to bring thousands from across Arizona to see its culture, street fairs, and traditions.

Throughout the years, big changes have been happening on Fourth Avenue. The construction of a new apartment building, new merchant shops, and restaurants makes it a very exciting time for business owners.

Formally known as the Dillinger Taproom at the historic Coronado Hotel, the owners of the new Traxide Taproom hope to bring a different taste while staying true to the culture on Fourth Avenue.

On the other side of Fourth Avenue, it is officially launched.

Meek said this taproom is taking a unique approach to the business. He said customers will have the chance to Drink their favorites while getting tattooed.

“This used to be the Royal Bakery, from the research we have done,” Meek said. “This was free-standing before the hotel was built around it.”

Meek said taking over the Dillinger Taproom was natural. He also owns Art & Sol Tattoo in east Tucson, the new spot on Fourth Avenue will give him the chance to bring both of his businesses together.

“We worked here, so we know how the clientele, they are really symbiotic,” Meek said. “His clients liked to get tattoos and my clients like to drink beer so it seemed like the natural fit.”

Meek said keeping the historic hotel’s aesthetic while bringing a different flavor is the goal.

“We are trying to preserve a lot of the aesthetic in where we are going to go.,” Meek said. “We don’t want to modernize, we want to embrace that 100-year-old history.”

According to Meek, the location is already a hot spot with traffic going in and out of downtown. He said having the street car stop and the Aria Apartments being built right across the street are just a few other bonuses.

“We are really looking forward to what the business can bring,” Meek said. “Also, what the community can bring and what the environment we can offer them.”

If you are a fan of Dillinger Beer, Meek said Traxside still has a few of its brews on tap, chilled and ready to serve. However, it won’t be for long.

“We are using up the rest of the supply of the Dillinger Beer. Those things will change as the supply runs out,” Meek said. “We have a lot of beer to go through so we hope people who did like Dillinger Beer can come down and drink it while we got it.”

Meek said the merchants on Fourth Avenue are known to support one another and a truly like a family.

Cynthia Naugle the owner of “& Gallery” on Fourth Avenue, agrees with Meek.

According to Naugle, a few merchants on Historic Fourth Avenue are counting down the days until the 54th Annual Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair, hoping more foot traffic gives their business a boost.

Naugle tells 13 News the gallery offers a space where local artists can feature and sell their art. Naugle said she has been struggling to keep the gallery’s doors open.

In recent months, business has been up and down for Naugle and many other merchants. She said recent inflation trends have forced them to adapt to a “new normal.”

“Everything I know has been shaken up, thrown out the window, and thrown back in,” Naugle said. “Trying to re-learn everything. It’s been different coming back, people buy differently, they shop differently and they support differently.”

In addition to inflation and changing shopping trends, this past summer’s record-breaking heat also played a big part in the slowdown.

Naugle said it’s important for people to support the merchants on Fourth Avenue all year round since they rely heavily on local support.

Fourth Avenue has so many great shops here and we all support each other and understand right now is a very difficult time for everyone,” Naugle said. “There are a lot of changes happening on fourth and I’m hoping it’s all for the better.”

On Saturday, November 18, 2023, Traxide will host the fourth-anniversary celebration for Art & Sol Tattoo, giving people the chance to have a beer and get a tattoo, bringing his two businesses together.

As for “& Gallery,” a GoFundMe page has been set up to support the business during these difficult times.

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