Balancing events and local shops in Delray - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Balancing events and local shops in Delray

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Some business owners in downtown Delray Beach are calling for changes after Small Business Saturday didn't pan out the way they hoped.

They say they don't want events and festivals scheduled on holiday weekends saying it keeps customers away.

Meanwhile other businesses say it brings in new customers.

Delray's Atlantic Avenue is known for it's locally owned shops . The manager at Periwinkle clothing store was expecting big things on Small Business Saturday until vendors set up on 4th Avenue for the annual fine arts festival.

"It kind of defeated the purpose of promoting our small business in town when they brought other small businesses to interfere with tax-paying stores and restaurants that have been here forever," says Megan Addison, from Periwinkle.

She believes crowds and closed streets from the festival kept Small business Saturday customers away.

Leaders from the Downtown Development Authority point out this festival has been coming to the area for the past 16 years. Small Business Saturday has only existed for five years.

They say they put the festival on a side street with few storefronts to minimize its impact on brick and mortar stores.

DDA leaders say they've heard more good things than bad from store owners about the holiday weekend.

Over at Avalon Gallery, John Terry says his sales were decent Saturday. He likes how each event brings different people downtown.

"When they have the clothing, fashion, thing out there, I don't really make a whole lot of business off it, but it brings people down here," Terry points out. "It's just a matter of whether they're going to spend money with you or not."

He thinks good weather up north is keeping snowbirds and customers from Florida.

"Weather being as good as it is up north, I think we're taking a little bit of a hit on that," he says.

Addison has suggested moving the festivals to a time when they could really use the customers; an idea she hopes she can sell to the city.

"It would be great to do it in the summer, or another time when it would help us bring more people in during a time when there aren't as many people walking the avenue," the Periwinkle supervisor says.

NewsChannel 5 did speak with one shopper who said she had no problem finding a parking spot Saturday and she shopped at the art festival and local stores. 

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