Despite recently released statistics from TARC that show the number of people riding trolleys during the hops has decreased, business owners along Frankfort Avenue have actually seen an increase in general street traffic, in-store foot traffic and sales during Frankfort Avenue Trolley (F.A.T.) Hops each month. Don Burch, FABA President and owner of Quest Outdoors, agrees that the amount of actual trolley riders has slackened, but foot traffic has definitely increased. “Store traffic has increased more than ever this year, and I believe it’s because of the Trolley Hops. I think the people that participate in the Hop for the first time use the Trolley to get a feel for the area, and then, when they know the area a little better, they figure out that we’re a very walking-friendly area, and therefore navigate mostly by foot. They use the trolleys for the longer distances such as going from the Avenue to Mellwood, or from one end of the Avenue to the other.” Tim Coury, proprietor of Porcini Restaurant, agrees. “From what I’ve seen, the Hop is an excuse to get out and explore a new place, but once they discover the Avenue and all it has to offer, people not only stick around the entire night, but they also come back on non-Hop Fridays and many other days of the week.” After a successful launch with four F.A.T. Hops at the end of 2004, the F.A.T. Friday Hops have had continued growth with each subsequent year. This year, the Hop schedule has grown to include thirteen Hops with a Special “Cup Hop” planned for visitors that are in town for the Ryder Cup. “A strong crowd for The Cup Hop is definitely expected, as the retailers on the Avenue have noticed an outbreak of growth for the trolley and increased store traffic within the last few months. The April, May and June Hops of this year were among the strongest ever, and we hope to only grow from here,” stated John Johnson, owner of The Wine Rack, one of Frankfort Avenue’s many specialty shops. F.A.T. Friday Trolley Hops are sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, Maker’s Mark, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards and the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center, along with over 40 local sponsoring businesses on Frankfort, Mellwood and Story Avenues. Transportation is provided by TARC. The next Frankfort Avenue Trolley Hop is Friday, August 29 with Trolleys running from 6:00pm-10:30pm. Free parking is available. For more information, please visit www.fatfridayhop.org, or contact Nancy Alvey, Crescent Hill Gallery, at 502-893-0511.