MADISON, Wis. — For generations of Madisonians, State Street has been a shopping destination.

But as changing demographics mean more people are living downtown, many traditional retail stores are being replaced by restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

“People spend their money differently than they did 10, 20 years ago, and people are spending more money as all of us know on entertainment,” Downtown Madison Inc. president Susan Schmitz said.

Some retailers are trying to step away from the traditional shopping experience by making their business more of a “destination.”

“This is a beautiful store, and it’s a destination retailer that people come to and I think it’s going to drive a lot more traffic down here especially around the holidays,” Under Armour Madison assistant manager Paula Salmon said.

Other businesses are focusing on providing services like haircuts and waxes.

But those who work on the street say filling people’s needs is the key factor.

“I’d say the best thing for State Street would be a balance. I mean State Street wouldn’t be State Street without a lot of those small local stores that have been here for forever,” FjallRaven manager Victoria Albrect said.

Despite the changes… Schmitz says the area will remain important for the community for years to come.

“State Street survives because it’s a street for people. People like being there, but it changes in terms of its users and uses,” she said.

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