Redstone celebrates summer with block party
It may be big box o’clock at Kimball Junction, where Wal-Mart plans to get plus-sized and golden arches frown down, but mom-and-pop retailers in the Redstone development say they’re prepared to celebrate smaller businesses with a summer block party all day Saturday, featuring free live music and sidewalk sales.
Local artists Tim Wray and Fat Paw perform from 2:30-5 p.m.
Because the mixed residential, office and commercial development has a handful of large anchor stores, it may seem like an odd fit for the underdog paradigm.
Since its first store open in January 2004, Redstone has carved out 185,000 square feet in retail space for 41 shops, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Whole Foods, Petco, and a sizable movie theater.
Scott Wilson of Active Sole shoe store said business has been steady since he opened his doors in December 2006, but getting the word out about Redstone remains challenging. That’s why he has helped spearhead an unofficial association of merchants at Redstone. The shops held a development-wide Memorial Day sale and hope to repeat success with the sidewalk festivities this weekend. Some stores plan to offer complimentary food and wine, bike demonstrations, dog-washing stations and drawings.
"We don’t want people to think we’re a sanitized place," Wilson explained. "There are lots of malls like this where there aren’t any local owners. We’re not like that. Redstone has character and uniqueness. We’re a neighborhood, not just a shopping center. Aside from the anchors, almost every shop is local."
Wilson said it’s easy for smaller shops like his to get overshadowed by big box stores. "A lot of locals don’t know we’re here," he said. "We’re trying to get the word out."
Redstone property manager Jeff Machin said developers have been supportive of a business alliance from the beginning. They’ve given the green light for Redstone Gallery, Active Sole and other vendors to team with Petco and Whole Foods to attract customers. "Interest for the block party really came from local operators, smaller shops," Machin said, adding that community events have been a big hit in the past. "The tenants have a good idea of what will work . . . A lot of the tenants feel everyone is aware of Bed Bath & Beyond and the movie theater and not as aware that there’s local people in the stores, people from Park City."
"Unfortunately, the shopping center doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a successful business," Marchin said.
One of the most recent locally owned stores to close was the Spotted Frog Bookstore and Wine Bar. Owner Karen Dallett said at the time of the closing in April that she and her son, Park Record sommelier Zev Rovine, did their best to attract customers with a café and popular weekly wine classes, but even that couldn’t make the Spotted Frog competitive with online and discount booksellers.
"The economics of bookselling being what they are, I just didn’t have enough money to keep it going," she said. "If I had a million bucks in back-up financing, I wouldn’t be closing my store."
The store boasted an impressive spread, about 2,000 square feet, and until eliminating its children’s section, it was twice that size. Dallett estimated the store would have had to sell $600,000 in merchandise to turn a profit, the Record reported.
Since April, the space once occupied by Spotted Frog has shown promising signs of regeneration. The 2,000-
square-foot space has been divided in two. The retailer Cake has moved in on one side and Color Me Mine plans to occupy the other.
The Redstone Summer Block Party is being held all day Saturday and features food, wine, store discounts and free live music.
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