What is wrong with downtown Rutland? This Saturday at approximately 6 p.m., I walked downtown with money in my pocket that I was prepared to spend only to find that hardly anything was open with the exception of Three Tomatoes and Kelvanís until I entered the downtown plaza. You would think that downtown Rutland would want to capitalize on the sidewalk sales and ethic festival and stay open. I was very disappointed to say the least.
In years past, the sidewalk sales and ethnic festivals lasted longer. Whoever organized the sidewalk sales and ethnic festival did a very poor job of organizing and promoting it. I had no advance notice that this was happening. I looked under things to do, and I did not see it listed in Fridayís paper. I understand, there may have been something in the Saturday Rutland Herald, but if there was, I didnít see it.
Another thing on Saturday, when I did see that sidewalk sales and ethnic festival were happening, I also noticed that the streets were half filled with vendors. In years past, the streets were absolutely packed with vendors. I understand that this year, like last year, the organizers have limited this event to Rutland businesses, since some Rutland merchants in the past were irritated because of the fact that some vendors from out of town were coming in and making money. I understand this, but if no one comes because the streets are half empty, then everybody loses.
Now back to everything being closed in downtown Rutland on a Saturday night, this is very shortsighted. For the longest time, all I have heard is how the downtown businesses canít compete with the big box stores. My response is, in order to compete you need to be open. It is that simple. Everyone knows downtown Rutland is not open on Saturday evening and Sunday, so they go somewhere else to shop.
If the downtown merchants want business, try being open on Saturday and Sunday and closed on Monday and Tuesday. Also donít just do it. Promote it.
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