Some businesses do record sales during Arts, Beats & Eats
Posted September 8, 2010
ROYAL OAK — Gary Baglio, owner of Five15 on Washington Avenue, said the Arts, Beats & Eats festival was met with skepticism by many local retailers, but he quickly became a believer in the event.
“This is my Christmas-plus,” he said. “It’s been incredible.”
The first couple days of the festival were not only the two best single days in the store’s history — Baglio said sales were triple his previous best marks.
“There is so much positive energy here,” Baglio said. “For a commercial for the city, you couldn’t pay for this exposure. Coming right before the holiday season, I really feel like this is going to catapult some people.”
The store, located at 515 Washington Ave., sells coffee and lattes, along with cards, T-shirts and other items.
Inside and outside the festival grounds, local retailers had positive things to say about the four-day event that drew more than 400,000 people to the city’s downtown, with many boasting they had record sales days during the event.
“I’m happy,” said Laura Harrison, owner of the Ladybug Shoppe, 210 W. Sixth St. “This is my 26th Labor Day weekend, and it’s not as good as it was when it was the 1990s, but it’s a definite improvement over the past two years.”
She said the festival wasn’t without its bumps in the road, but she was keeping a list of items to discuss with festival organizers to help plan for the 2011 event.
“There was a fear of the unknown,” Harrison said about her skepticism of the event, which had previously been held in Pontiac. “But I’m happy.”
Restaurants in the downtown area were generally jammed and several bars just outside the festival grounds had lines to get inside over the course of the weekend. At the same time, there were at least two downtown salons in the festival footprint that were closed for the weekend.
Michele Beck, owner of That Girl Resale, 738 S. Washington Ave., said she was extremely happy with the way the event turned out.
“We are doing great, and I’m excited,” Beck said. “I can’t wait until they do it again.”
She said the weekend was four times better than any weekend she had in the five months the store had been open. Beck said the store, located outside of the festival footprint, was dead until she sent employees into the grounds and started promoting sales.
“We were giving people $5 off if they knew the code word, and it’s working,” she said.
Linda and Audrey Isrow kicked the doors open to their upscale boutique Stella at 110 W. Fourth St. just a few months back. They said they had a lot of foot traffic in the store, which also was outside of the festival perimeter.
“We’ve had good sales, and I think (we’ll get) future sales too,” Linda Isrow said. “A lot of people didn’t want to carry items around, but said they would be back.”
Tommy Dorr, owner of Lost and Found Vintage, 510 S. Washington — in the heart of the Arts, Beats & Eats grounds — said sales fluctuated over the four days, with the store having one of its best days of all-time on Saturday, Sept. 4.
“People really weren’t in the buying mood on (Sept. 5). People weren’t shopping, but they were just looking,” he said on the last day, Sept. 6. “The festival is a little long, but if we can have a Saturday like that every year, I don’t mind it at all.”
He said he was stunned at the amount of people in the city’s downtown.
“I can’t believe how many shoppers are down here,” Dorr said. “It’s great.”
Festival producer Jon Witz said he was happy to hear how things had gone for many of the downtown businesses.
“I’m thrilled with how well the businesses are doing,” Witz said. “The impact will be in the millions (of dollars).”
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