LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As summer and the Kentucky Derby approaches downtown Louisville is trying to bounce back. One sign of the rebound is Fourth Street Live searching for workers to fill 100 positions at bars and restaurants. The spot was particularly hit hard during the pandemic and after some people took advantage of the 2020 racial injustice protests.
There are multiple positions available from entry-level to management.
"That's what I'm looking forward to the most is just having our businesses open again so people can start coming back to work and we can offer great entertainment, great hospitability," director of operations for Fourth Street Live, Antuan Del Carpio said.
The three-day hiring event kicked off on Tuesday at 10 a.m. When WHAS11 showed up, few people were spotted at the event's tent but there people can also apply online.
"If you can smile if you're good to people if you're looking for a job if you want a great place to work where there's amazing growth and opportunities," Carpio said.
After the first day, Carpio said about 45 people showed up and 20 positions were filled.
Venues hiring include Sports and Social Club and PBR Louisville and Pizza Bar. Business owners are hoping to bring life back to what has become a ghost town.
"It had to do with COVID people stay home, a lot of businesses decided to start working from home, students stayed home," Carpio said.
One of the restaurants hiring is Whiskey Dry owned by Louisville Chef Edward Lee.
"We only want the best for Fourth Street Live and for downtown," Lee said. "For me downtown is still the heart and soul of Louisville so we want people to come back and have fun."
Whiskey Dry recently reopened after it was forced to close due to the pandemic.
"Before the pandemic hit downtown was busy," Lee said. "It breaks my heart to see it so empty right now you know but we're fighting and we're here and there's still things to do downtown."
Lee hopes the 147th Kentucky Derby is the start towards recovery.
"During Derby, we want to show our best," he said. "People are still going to be coming here from out of town from all over the country and we want to show the country and the world what Louisville is made of."
Some business owners on 4th Street tried their best to fight through.
"Right now I'm kind of ready to get it packed up," owner of Regalo, Jd Dotson said.
Dotson said the money to keep the downtown Louisville location open was running out. After eight years, the art and gift shop will close by the end of April.
"All you have to do is come down to Fourth Street to see why we're leaving," Dotson said. "There's a lot of empty buildings, there's information kiosks that are still shattered and wrapped in plastic, I begged for trash cans I finally got trash cans back here they've been gone."
Dotson's sister will still run the Regalo in the New Albany location along with an online store.
One thing that remains for most of the downtown business owners is hope for a brighter future. Carpio says hiring it just a the first step.
"Having a place where [people] can apply to get a job and get back to work which is the most important thing," Carpio said.
The event is expected to take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m. and Thursday from noon until 4 p.m. Applicants are required to wear masks at check-in. To learn more about the jobs click here.