Redstone Merchant Association takes flight
November 24, 2009
The "Other Main Street" is getting organized.
The Redstone Merchants Association now has 15 members paying $100 a month toward joint marketing for the 40-unit shopping complex in Kimball Junction.
They’re buying ads in local media as well as in Salt Lake City to become known as a closer alternative to Park City’s Historic Main Street district for shoppers in the valley and much of the county.
A handful of participants met Monday morning at Beadniks to toss around a handful of catchphrases. "A Main Street for Kids," "Main Street for Families," and "The Other Main Street."
With a bead shop, toy store, make-your-own ceramics place, movie theaters, ice cream and now a bowling center across the street in Newpark, the area has a lot to offer families vacationing in Park City, explained Beadniks owner Tom Richardson.
"If it’s not better than Main Street, it can or will be if we combine forces," he said.
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The Main Street businesses are noticing, too. When that merchant association’s gift card was debated, the growth of Kimball Junction and its threat to the district was cited as a reason to move forward with the idea.
But Redstone’s marketing efforts don’t need to see one area suffer for it to succeed. It’s about making people aware of what Kimball Junction has to offer, Richardson said.
Jupiter Bowl now links Redstone with the Newpark Town Center. The Redstone merchants would like to see the unified neighborhood become a major attraction, especially when the storefronts in the latter begin filling up.
"People say they wish they knew about this place," said Marge Rung, owner of Changes. "They say, ‘That little mall, is there anything there?’"
The county’s signage code doesn’t help any, directing visitors over to McDonald’s and Walmart but not allowing drivers to see what else is offered in the area, the attendees agreed.
Cherie Sharp, owner of Color Me Mine, said fans of ski-in, ski-out venues will always flock to Main Street. Redstone, Richardson said, would just like a bigger share of the market. Jon Allen of the J.W. Allen & Sons toy store said he’d like to see visitors spend a day of their trip getting to know his part of the county.
In the past, Active Sole owner Scott Wilson said the street had hosted a handful of sidewalk sales and outdoor concerts. A few ads had been bought with money earned through drawings.
This year, the street’s Halloween party was a huge success attracting hundreds of people, Richardson said.
This Friday, Santa Claus will visit Redstone shops spending time in several locations. Each participating store will set up its own chair for him and have different things for people to do when they visit. Beadniks will give away a holiday-themed bead for stopping by and Color Me Mine will have a special ceramics activity, for example.
The merchants also said they’re eager to make a pitch to the Park Silly Market whose organizers have said they may leave Main Street if they can’t secure a long-term contract. The Redstone merchants present on Monday said they would consider gaining the Silly Market a coup.
The merchants said they’re optimistic about the economy as well.
One of their struggles this past year is that business from locals has been disappointing, Allen and Sharp both agreed. That’s been tough on the small shops, but Rung said her store in the Seattle area has seen business pick up and thinks sales this season will be better than last.
"They’re not spending what they did, but they’re starting to spend," she explained.