Main Street businesses prepare for summer
April 7, 2009
Ski season may not be over yet, but merchants and event organizers associated with Main Street are already planning for summer and even next Christmas.
Preparations for the Park Silly Sunday Market opening in June are already underway. Likewise, the Historic Main Street Business Alliance is working on how to maximize exposure for its members to the market patrons.
Tonight at 5 p.m. the alliance will meet at the Kimball Art Center to discuss this issue, as well as the alliance’s successes and goals, the 2010 proposed budget, Park City’s economic forecast, plans for making Main Street more festive during the holidays and Utah Legislature updates.
Despite the success of the Park Silly Sunday Market, not all Main Street merchants have been excited about its presence, explained Sandy Geldof, alliance program director.
Sunday has always been a strong business day in the district and people came in good numbers before the market. Once the market started a few years ago, some businesses especially towards the top of the street began noticing fewer patrons.
"It took everyone a little time to feel the effects of the market," Geldof explained. "We didn’t expect the moth to the flame effect. Some businesses reported lower sales the first year."
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Just as Park Silly Sunday Market organizers have worked to make each year better than the last, the alliance has also been working to help the entire district benefit from the draw of the market, Geldof said.
In the most recent newsletter for members, the alliance informed readers that "in addition to asking the market to reduce the percentages of artisans like jewelry makers and photographers, and increase the participation of farmer’s booths, the HMBA is working on a targeted Sunday Sales promotion to help drive more foot traffic to the entirety of Main Street "
The merchants didn’t appreciate competition presented by vendors of jewelry, photography and food, Geldof explained. To counteract that, the alliance has been encouraging more merchants to have sidewalk sales and Sunday specials during the hours of the market.
A few restaurants, including Butcher’s Chophouse and Cisero’s have expressed interest in becoming food vendors during the market.
Phil Perry, general manager at Butcher’s, said they’ve created a special menu based on the restaurant’s specialties. To feature its meats, the chefs are coming up with sandwiches like shaved prime rib that people can eat as they walk down the street.
The restaurant will be open for brunch and Perry hopes the exposure out on the street will entice people to come in for a sit-down meal.
"Butcher’s is one of the non-corporate restaurants in town, so we feel we should be more part of the local community. We’d like to support people and see them support us," he said.
The market also decided to close each Sunday at 4 p.m. to coincide with the beginning of the dinner hour and support Main Street’s restaurants, explained market director Kimberly Kuehn.
In response to the request for fewer artisans and more farmers, the market’s Becca Gerber over vendor orchestration said they’ve been "actively pursuing local farmers to bring more produce to the market."
So far, they’ve accepted five applications and are in communication with several others.
A challenge they’re facing, Kuehn explained, is that many local farming families are LDS and prefer to attend markets on Saturdays instead of Sundays. The market offers them free space and is working with the state agricultural leaders to encourage more participation.
With all of this cooperation underway, Geldof said the alliance is being proactive this year to achieve success for everyone.
"This year we’re putting the pedal to the metal to attract more people up the street," she said.
Past measures have included a shuttle service to drop people off at the top of Main Street so that no one has to walk uphill to reach favorite spots. Organizers have also been encouraging people to park at China Bridge forcing them to walk past much of the street on their way to the market.
This year the alliance is working on selling reusable shopping bags with its logo on it and filled with coupons and promotional materials from merchants, Geldof said.
Ongoing projects include creating a Main Street Gift Card as part of a larger effort to better market the entire district, she said.