I don't care for downtown events -- but I'm conflicted about it.
First of all, I'm pretty done in this morning. Really tired. It's people who wear me out, and I had a ton of them in on Saturday and Sunday. The dollars per-customer average was very low on Saturday, a little better on Sunday.
But....I'm not going to complain about sales.
Funny thing, people were actually a little more thoughtful than usual about putting stuff back in the right place and keeping things orderly. Linda came down and joined me, so that was really fun, seeing old friends come into the store who were surprised to see the two of us together in one place...
All in all, the Bite of Bend probably added business, especially on Sunday, which have been pretty slow lately.
As I was driving home on Saturday, I was looking at some of the very quiet stripmalls and thinking, "They'd kill for the kind of crowd I was experiencing."
I'm also pretty much going along with these things nowawdays, and trying not to be too cantankerous about it.
My position now is -- downtown Bend is thriving, and closing the streets on the peak weekends is problematic. I have no problem at all with doing these events in the off season. Still, with the addition of books, I'm no longer completely left out of the festivities. (I know I'll get raised eyebrows at 'thriving', but at least for the months of summer and Christmas, and at least for now with the mostly filled storefronts, and -- if you will -- compared to elsewhere, I don't think it's a completely inappropriate word....)
I had a couple of out-of-town groups buy big batches of toys, so that helped me over the top yesterday.
A couple of interesting notes: some of my neighbors were closed yesterday. What does that say about their opinion of the value of these crowds? Especially since I know some of these merchants are supporters of these events. Seems kind of strange. Watch. The same thing will happen on the 4th of July, with thousands of people downtown. (And I may join them in closing, but it's Saturday, dammit!)
Secondly, just for fun, I picked a spot in front of my store and counted people walking by. In the first hundred people, I saw 2 shopping bags. I thought that seemed low, so I counted out another hundred people, and this time saw 1 shopping bag.
Lots of food and drink, though.
4 days ago