Letters to the Editor, November 28 – December 1, 2009
November 28, 2009
We have invested and worked here since 1994 and are staunch believers that a vibrant and dynamic Main Street is key to economic well-being of Park City. I am amazed to see us on the verge of running the Park Silly Sunday Market out of Old Town. Why would we want to keep a program that brought 90,000 consumers to our doorsteps in the summer? Why would we want to keep an event that has, more than any other event in recent memory, embodied the "Park City Funk" we heard spoken of so often during the recent mayoral campaign.
The Park Silly Sunday Market discussion is a symptom — not an event. We continue to engage in conversations that are anchored thoughts from a world we all knew pre 2007. A world where skier day records were broken every year and consumers flush with cash stood in line at our shops, hotels and restaurants. That world is no more.
The reason that business is down in Old Town is simple. We argue endlessly about parking meters but fail to notice the parking stalls are empty. We work on derailing rather than supporting successful programs such as the Silly Market based on the premise that one end of Main Street is benefiting more that the other end. We accept the easy answer that this is a "temporary" downturn rather than facing the fact that Redstone is taking our market share because they work together and make it easy for their customers to have fun and spend money with them. The Market is the victim of an arrogance of thought that believes that Main Street is above the influences of the marketplace and that our unique character gives us a hall pass to ignore the requests and desires of our customers.
The question is not whether to have Silly Market stay in Old Town. The question is what we must do to keep Silly Market in Old Town and how we can get their team to share their talents and visions with all of us in Old Town to help us rekindle the magic of Main Street.
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Parkites help give hunger the bird
Last Thursday and Friday (Nov. 19-20) was the 8th Annual Park City Turkey Drive held at the Market in Park City and, once again, the event was a big success.
The big picture: We collected in excess of 1,450 turkeys and hundreds of pounds of nonperishable food items. On a local level our drive provided 400 birds to Tim Dahlin at Park City Food Pantry located on Munchkin Road and the remaining turkeys were delivered to the Utah Food Bank for statewide distribution. Our local Park City Pantry was the sole beneficiary of all the dry and nonperishable foods.
This drive is made possible by the many generous members, colleagues and friends of the Park City Board of Realtors who gave from their hearts to support this successful event. You have again shown the depths of your compassion and, without you, the overwhelming results and the number of people we are feeding this holiday season would not be possible. For the second year, the "Keller Williams Cares" foundation has made a ginormous company donation to the turkey drive and, once again, a huge thank you, thank you, thank you. Finally, a heartfelt thank you to the many members of our wonderful community who again supported the turkey drive this year. Together we are making a big difference by "giving hunger the bird."
The annual turkey drive is provided in its entirety by Mike Holmes at the Market in Park City. He has been our ardent supporter for the past eight years and for two days Mike and his staff devote their time and energy to ensuring the success of this event. Thank you, Mike and Walt, for another great year.
Every penny collected, 100% of every donation, goes to purchasing turkeys — we have absolutely no overhead so we rely completely on volunteer help. This year, I am grateful that Rob Lea, Tracy Jaret, Janalee Jacobsen, Kristy Carlson and Marcus Wood tirelessly gave of their time and incredible upbeat and high energy to help make this year’s drive a success. They are individually and collectively amazing and loving thanks to them all.
Please thank your Realtor/friend for their never-ending support to our community and I hope you will put the 9th Annual Turkey Drive on your 2010 calendar.
With sincere appreciation and heartfelt gratitude,
Park City Turkey Drive
Silly Market tried to appease merchants
The Silly Market has bent over backwards to follow the city’s rules and appease the Main Street Business Association:
1. The market is under contract to state publicly that they are located "on Historic Main Street in Park City Utah"
2. Any tour-group bus that brings people into town on Sundays during the market is directed to unload at the TOP of Swede Alley, forcing passengers to walk down Main street to the Market.
3. Jewelry vendors at the Silly Market are limited to 10% of the total vendor population on a given Sunday.
4. Cooked-food vendors are limited to a total of five.
5. First dibs on a food-vendor spot was offered to Main Street restaurants before they were booked on the open market.
6. Free advertising space was reserved on the three information kiosks in the Market specifically for Main Street businesses.
7. A free booth was provided each week for the MSBA to provide active on-site promotion of Main Street businesses.
8. A free booth was provided each week for a different selected Main Street business to sell directly to the market visitors.
9. The city offered a matching grant of $10,000 to the MSBA for advertising, which was not awarded because the MSBA did not raise the matching funds.
10. Street performers and musicians were programmed for upper Main Street during the Market Sundays, but were met with resistance by certain merchants.
11. Lots of merchants filled out the opinion poll earlier in the summer but only 19 completed the detailed financial research poll for the city-funded economic-impact report.
So, if these provisions to help the Main Street businesses were made and 6,000 people are at the bottom of the street (a five-minute walk or two-minute trolley ride from said merchants), who’s to blame if business is down?
If merchants on Main Street can’t make the Silly Sunday Market work to their advantage, they are simply not trying. In a free-market economy, competition spurs innovation and creates better products for consumers. In an economic downturn, lack of innovation leads to rapid losses. Is it fair for Main Street Merchants to expect some sort of immunity from market forces such as competition?
Maybe if the Vocal Few spent their energy trying to capture some of those 6,000 attendees’ attention instead of complaining, they would have a different view of the market.
I feel it is all too common for business owners to develop a sense of entitlement when it comes to profits. Whoever said a profit, in any market, was a sure thing?