Published: Oct 08, 2011 1:42 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 08, 2011 4:45 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Three years ago, Art Walk in downtown Fort Myers was born.  Since then, the economy has been on a roller coaster.  Businesses tell WINK News, Art Walk has helped them bring in the cash.

On a normal night, businesses in downtown Fort Myers close at about 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.  During Art Walk, doors stay open until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.  Owners said in some cases, the monthly event helps to boost business nearly 50 percent.

Andy Howl, owner of Howl Gallery, is the mastermind behind Art Walk.

"Art Walk started three years ago now in October of 2008," said Howl.

On the first Friday of every month for the last three years, music and art have made their way through the streets of downtown Fort Myers.

"Since then its really helped stimulate the downtown economy, kind of bring a life back downtown, revamp the reputation that the downtown had," said Howl.

Enjewel's doors have been open for the last eight and a half years.  They've seen the ups and downs of the economy and compare a normal day to an Art Walk day and said business can be up 50 to 60 percent.

"It brings in people not just to us and our business but all the businesses downtown, the restaurants  and I think its going to help Lee County grow," said Linda Floyd, store associate at Enjewel.

Down the street at Charme, Gary Simmons said the monthly art shows and music helps bring people in the store in the slowest times and helps business increase 25 to 30 percent.

"Especially in the summer we do have a lot of people leave town and it draws the local crowd in and thats nice," said Simmons.

Howl said Art Walk is helping to keep downtown Fort Myers growing, giving a boost to business and the economy.

"More businesses have opened continually.  I think we're up to 13 or 14 galleries now from four or five when we started," said Howl.

If you didn't get a chance to make it down to Art Walk Friday night, Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., there will be the seasonal art fair.  This happens every Saturday after Art Walk.  Saturday, 25 artists will be set up on First Street in front of the stores.