At Subculture Coffee, the short story dispenser had more than 1,600 hits in its first month. Instead of coffee or sweets, push a button and a 1-, 3- or 5-minute story prints out.
The cafe’s Tacos & Hip Hop event, “an old school community party we do,” has been drawing more than 1,000 people, co-owner Sean Scott said. “It’s a simple concept, a time to meet and eat at 7, and people show up and it’s just a slow progression into a very electric evening.”
The next great thing: a regular event called the Alley Sessions, “a curated music experiment,” where Scott invites a dozen musicians from all over the county who’ve never played together, to jam, giving people a more raw musical experience.
“Everything I do, I try to do something different than the same old open mic or game night,” he said.
If Subculture has become ground zero for millennials in the city, it’s not the only venue to recognize and encourage downtown’s demographic evolution, as Boomers and Xers on the West Palm Beach scene give way to those born near the turn of the millennium, from roughly 1980 to 1995, as the generation is loosely defined.
Traditional stores are giving way to dining and entertainment spots, recognizing a growing preference for doing things rather than having things. Shops that are emerging are those with goods you can’t get at Target or online, said Teneka James, associate director of the Downtown Development Authority, the business group that sponsored the short story machines at Subculture and E.R. Bradley’s Saloon.
On the rise: Bookmobiles, bicycles and trolleys
City programs and the business community alike are gearing up.
A 2016 survey by Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of millennials used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months, more than any other generation, a fact not lost on Mandel Public Library’s executive director, Christopher Murray. The library’s public computers, “increMental-U” classes and a system called Hoopla, which gives members access to 450,000 downloadable movies, audio books, music albums and ebooks, cater to the kinds of interests the Pew study said attract millennials, and the library is one of the most popular spots downtown.
At street level, meanwhile, bicycle-sharing company SkyBike is adding rental locations. Trolley service is ramping up, too, in an effort by the city, Community…