Merchants of DeKalb, want to increase your revenue? I have 2 tips for you.
1) Be Open for Business when your customers want to shop.
2) Get together and develop some consistent store hours.
What you have now is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.
Before I go any further, let me explain, I don’t really care what hours you’re open or even why you choose the crazy business hours some of you keep.
I’m guessing most of you own your own businesses and you are entitled to be open whenever you want.
But, I will make an observation that can’t be refuted, The inconsistency impacts business for all of you. It thwarts people who would otherwise go Downtown after work to walk around and browse.
In other words, each of you have made yourself a “Destination” location and yet few of you carry the core merchandise staples that destination locations like Grocer’s, Drug Stores, etc. offer.
I’m just saying, there’s a lot of retail growth around the fringes of DeKalb. Mainstream retailers that are actually open during the hours and days that people are available to shop.
In the long term, if you want to “Revitalize Downtown”, a phrase I hear a lot, it isn’t going to work under the current paradigm.
You can make downtown DeKalb as pretty as you want, but if the majority of merchants aren’t open at the same time, you won’t attract business.
Some of it makes sense, most of it doesn’t. In my mind, the restaurants and bars have more latitude than retail merchants.
Lothson’s is strictly a carry out place. Whatever hours Janet chooses to be open has no impact on anything else. Lothson’s is truly a destination location.
The Lincoln Inn falls into this classification as well. There are plenty of places to eat dinner downtown, but only one that I am aware of that caters to Breakfast.
Bill is happy with his morning and lunch trade and it actually compliments the other restaurants that cater to after work traffic.
Then there is the more ludicrous!
If you plan to go to Andy’s, you’d better be a local and a hardcore Andy’s fan.
I have heard from a number of people that Andy’s is open most everyday.
For a little while anyway!
But, certainly not the hours that are posted.
If I can ever catch this place when it is actually open, I hope to learn more as I still have unanswered questions about the fate of McCabes. But, from some of what I’ve heard, that may end up being a story that’s not worth sharing.
I guess the attitude of the local merchants can best be described in this next image.
There is a certain arrogance or level of entitlement that emanates from a message like this. I don’t think that’s the intent but the message exists never-the-less.
Listen, I realize I took a hard position on this. I bear no malice towards any of the merchants. You all have a much greater entrepreneurial spirit than I possess.
Individually, there’s nothing wrong. Collectively, the impact is that these inconsistencies create confusion and thwart a more vital downtown business district which impacts all of you.
Perhaps worse, it conveys that you put your interests ahead of your customers. This is very, very dangerous strategy in a world that is rapidly migrating to online shopping. Online, stores are always open for business.
I will leave you with two additional comments.
First, (tongue in cheek), it appears the city of DeKalb is aligned with it’s merchants, judging strictly by some of the inconsistent parking hours around town.
What a conundrum this must be for town counsel. Allowing willy-nilly shop keeper hours has a direct impact on tax revenue, yet forcing restrictions, risks merchants taking down their shingle.
Second, the images used here and in the slide show below are just a representative sample of the diversity of days and hours businesses are open. I got tired of taking photos, long before I ran out of examples.
Thanks for looking.