Because it's expected of me, I'm going to do my yearly lament about street closures. Certainly not a "tirade" these days, because I've given up any hope that things will ever change. I make sure I have other people working at my store on these days, and accept them like I would accept a hailstorm or something.
Still, I'll keep pointing out the emperor has no clothes, because -- well, the emperor is butt naked.
These street closures don't help business. Certainly not on the days they are held, and I've seen absolutely no evidence they help on the days they aren't being held. And it isn't just me.
I know it doesn't stand to reason. But there are lots of things in business that don't stand to reason, and yet there they are. If you examine the evidence -- it just ain't true.
For example: The massive success of the superhero movies must mean I'm doing really well selling comics...right? Actually, they have zero effect. This was a surprise at first, but since we've gone through year after year of blockbusters with the same limp effect, well -- there you have it.
Evidence -- Pshah!
It's a harmless illusion mostly. It probably doesn't hurt that people think that. It might hurt someone who is inspired to open a comic shop, I suppose. Or a new shop who over orders comics in anticipation, but the knowledge is pretty much out there among the comic community, so fair warning.
Anyway, I've detailed all the reasons I don't think street closures help business. Every spring for the last 6 years -- look it up. (I don't think it is just my business --but I can only prove my own business.) Admittedly, they don't hurt quite as much as they used to, because I've tried hard to mainstream my inventory, so I suspect it these street closures now hurt me more like they hurt other downtown business, instead of the extreme effect they used to have...
I've asked around a lot, and my opinion that these events don't help business is widely held, but rarely talked about. No one wants to rock the boat.
So, anyway, I got the sales total for Saturday, and it was mediocre. Less than almost every other day this week (and we're talking weekdays versus weekend.)
Then it occurs to me! They are holding the Bite of Bend every *other* year, alternating with the Old Mill district.
So I look up the same Saturday as last year's Bite of Bend, and we did ---nearly twice as well last year without the street closure. (I usually find the same kind of differential when I compare street-closure summer weekends with weekends before or after, very similar results.)
Evidence -- whateeeeeever, right?
Because you see, when summer comes, the streets are full of shoppers. Normally.
Unless you distract them. Unless you put a beer in their hand and fill the street with revelers. Then they tend to, you know, revel.
Today, the street was full of revelers and nibblers, bless their bloated little tummies.
3 days ago