Is the July 4 parade a boon for local businesses?
As Lake Oswego's annual Fourth of July parade wrapped up, many hundreds of onlookers began dispersing down and away from A Avenue. A not insignificant number of these people would make their way past and into some of Lake Oswego's local businesses, opening their wallets in a variety of different stores, from coffee shops to boutique clothing resellers.
Julia Fowler, owner of Blue Moon Coffee along A Avenue, said that July 4 is the busiest day of the year for her coffee shop. "We have a line out the door for about an hour leading up to the start of the parade," she said. "Our sales are about six times the amount of a typical day. We do all that business in a little more than two hours." A manager at Peet's Coffee who declined to be identified expressed a similar sentiment, saying that they were definitely busier than normal.
And it wasn't just the coffee shops that received additional foot traffic because of the parade. Representatives from City Home, a furniture and home decor shop, and Adorn, a women's clothing store, also reported a spike in visitors to their stores, though not necessarily a significant increase in sales. Diane Sarver and Deena Day, salespeople at the boutique gift shop Lucky Me, both said that they saw increased foot traffic and sales. "We were very busy," Sarver said, mentioning that there were many parade attendees who made their way into the store after the parade concluded.
Sarver and Day both agreed that the Fourth of July activities in Millenium Park that followed the parade helped with sales and traffic, and commented on how there were many families who decided to go shopping following the conclusion of the parade. Sarver and Day also acknowledged that the good weather in LO on the Fourth contributed to the sheer number of people who attended the parade and were out and about afterwards.
The warm weather certainly didn't hurt Salt & Straw's sales, either. Adam, an assistant manager at Salt & Straw who declined to provide his last name, described the large line that formed in front of the store on the Fourth before they opened at 11 a.m., just a few minutes after the parade concluded. He said, "The Fourth of July is known to be our busiest day of the year, across all Salt & Straws. Not a huge surprise there." He credited the parade for a lot of the Lake Oswego branch's success on the Fourth, saying that it "definitely brings people down to the area."
Though not all the shops that spoke with the Review for this story made more sales on the Fourth, every single one had at least as much traffic, with several having far more than on a normal business day. It seems that during the Fourth of July parade, business owners had just as much cause as parade attendees to celebrate. Fowler said that she and her team at Blue Moon Coffee love working on the Fourth every year, as they get to see many people who wouldn't normally venture downtown. "The parade and festival are an opportunity to give kids experiences that enrich their involvement in the fabric of the community they call home," Fowler said.
And it certainly doesn't hurt that the parade and related festivities can help keep local businesses strong.
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