Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Street Closure Results

I'm just going to describe the sales we've had, before, during and after Street Closures, and let you guys draw your own conclusions.

Week before Bite of Bend. Great. Well above average.

Weekend of Bite of Bend. Sales, Average. Lots of work, cleaning and straightening and dealing with the public, but average sales. (Used to see a big drop, but have changed my inventory.)

Week after Bite of Bend. Horrid. More than a 25% drop.

Weekend after Bite of Bend. Great. Well above average. (No street closures.)

I've seen these results time after time.

So what about the exposure? What about people coming back?

Well, I think I'm in tune with my business. I think I'm pretty intuitive about where the business is coming from. My conclusions? Minimal. Not to say that there isn't a few comebackers, but mostly -- it's not worth the cost.

This position makes me very unpopular with the media, the Downtowners, and the event organizers. So be it. There are a few advantages to being a loner. But I've 25 years under my belt now, and I'm firmly convinced that the events don't help my business.

I've always said these events make sense in the 'off' season, when they are more likely to draw customers, than distract them. I also think the traditional events, however you define them, are exempt. The 4th of July and Christmas Parades, for instance.

I will buy into the argument that these events make downtown a 'happening' place, but would submit we could keep that feeling going with less than half as many events as currently take place.

Not that this will change anything. But if I stake a position over here, a lone wolf howling, then maybe the urge to add events will be moderated. (I'm aware of the limit, but that was a fiat that can be reversed, I believe.)

I wish that some other Downtowners would speak up. I suppose all of them are satisfied, though that's hard to believe.

I believe my store does well when people are downtown to shop or browse. Enticing them with 'cultural' events is a completely different mindset.

How can I get this across? Sometime, if you are at one of these events, just watch people for awhile (like I do from within my store). Where to there eyes go? Where is their focus?

I can tell you they aren't looking at the stores, much. They sometimes seem barely aware the stores are there.....


timothy said...

There must be some upside to getting people familiar with downtown. Maybe it's just not obvious. People have to go downtown to learn their way around.

Duncan McGeary said...

Like I said, that makes sense. But I think this is a case of diminishing returns -- more and more events don't cause more and more business.

Maybe half as many would do.

I mean, you have to way what you think you might be losing, vs what you think you might be gaining.

I've come down on the side of I think I would do GREAT business in the summer weekends without any events.

Brent said...

It would be interesting to see a poll from the other surrounding businesses as to what they are seeing.

I am not sure how Bite of Bend will create foot traffic for a book store.
Typically it makes sense if there is something beneficial that the local businesses can add to the function.