Businesses along the Milwaukee Hop streetcar line are preparing for a busy weekend as the train opens to the public Friday.
Two of the major stops along the route are the Milwaukee Public Market and the Milwaukee Intermodal Station. Both are at the far southwest end of the line in or near the 3rd Ward.
Phil Bilodeau is the owner of Thief Wine in the Public Market and hopes the stop right outside the door to his business will make it more convenient for customers to get to him.
“The easier you make it for people to get to where they want to go, the better off the city is as a whole,” said Bilodeau.
He hopes it will help existing customers and Milwaukee visitors alike.
“There are a lot of customers who come here for conventions or other businesses trips, or vacation they’re here for a few days. They don’t want to have to drive around and navigate parking or renting a car," he said.
The Hop line also ends near the Milwaukee Intermodal station where those riding can take other types of transportation to an almost endless list of locations.
Amtrak Spokesperson Marc Magliari said, “This will help us with some of our business from Chicago to Milwaukee. There are people who actually live in both cities. There are certainly people who work at one end or the other. Anything that can help bring people to our stations is good stuff for us.”
The Milwaukee Hop Grand Opening Celebration is scheduled for noon on Friday at Cathedral Square Park. Many businesses along the route are offering specials to customers to celebrate.