Did Butter & Eggs Festivities Melt Sales Away?

One local Patch reader says they were disappointed when her planned shopping spree turned out for naught.

As the excitement for the Butter & Eggs parade grew, my girlfriends and I took our seats in the front window of Della Fattoria. We had come to Petaluma to celebrate my birthday, as we did last year, and to do some shopping to support the local business. Sitting down to our meal, and the parade, we began to list stores we needed to go to:

Summer Cottage Antiques, for consignment jewelry and unique gifts

Copperfield's Books, for Neil Gaiman tickets, and manga

iLeoni, for chicks, a wok, a cast iron combo cooker, and a pasta cutter

Knitterly, for yarn and chicks

Bill's Comics, for comics, and general geeky gifts

The Seed Bank, for non-GMO seeds

I'd even bought all six of us parade buttons, with the intent to stop at any stores on the discount list to shop and explore new places, but what my friends and I found was far from a happy downtown ready to welcome shoppers after the parade had ended. Nearly all of the stores on our lists were closed at 3 p.m.!

I know that downtown Petaluma is known for becoming a party zone as the sun goes down, but as we walked from a closed iLeoni, to a closed Kitterly, we saw other people walk up to these businesses and pause as they realized the store was closed. There was not even a sign in the door explaining why the establishments were closed. I had a short conversation with a lady outside of the Kitterly about how they have chicks in the window, perfect for keeping children occupied while mother's grab a quick skein or two.

I think it is a shame that businesses downtown have chosen to close their doors rather then stay open for those of us that can only day trip it to the parade. The economy may be on the upswing, but for businesses to grow they need to be open so consumers can go in to spend money.

I understand many may point out that people begin drinking right after the parade, but could we perhaps give them a reason not to go straight to drinking? How about we give those that are not the partying type a reason to stay, and maybe balance out the drunks? We will never know unless businesses step up to the plate.

The buttons were a huge incentive for us to shop. At $5 a piece, I think it is a wonderful way to support the parade, and for businesses downtown to show their support by participating. If the buttons are well utilized I think many businesses could see an upswing in profits the weekend of the parade. I'm not looking for just discounts at stores, but The Seed Bank could give out seeds with purchase, the Knitterly could give out stitch markers, iLeoni could have a demo or some nibblers for shoppers.

Please leave comments regarding what you would like to see from the businesses, and how you think they could encourage shoppers to stay after the parades.

T.Sprocket May 06, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Restaurants and bars are generally the only businesses that thrive during downtown events like this. Challenging condtions that affect retail from prospering are parking limitations, easy access, and of course a perception that this festival brings out an inebriated and potentially dangerous crowd to the downtown streets where these retail establishments exist. The argument that these types of events result in a financial windfall of these businesses and that they benefit from the "exposure" is tired and simply not reality. I think most businesses of this type are better served closing but providing enticing window displays with perhaps marketing for "specials" or "sales" the following weekend.
John.Maher May 06, 2013 at 02:45 PM
My bride Brenda owns French Hen antiques on Petaluma Blvd. North across from the Bank of America. She closed the shop during the parade to watch and then opened up again afterward. It was one of the best days for selling "smalls" she ever had. She also met a lot of NEW customers who were visiting Petaluma from other areas. Also, with the Antique Faire coming the very next day, she made a lot of new contacts with other antique dealers and customers who were in town for the entire weekend. Downtown events are our friend. :-)
Lisa Lee-Velvet Ice Gift Shop May 06, 2013 at 03:57 PM
I'm sorry for your experience on Butter and Eggs day. My shop "Velvet Ice Collection" is located in Petaluma's Theatre Square. We were on the list for discounts with your button. We were open all day, till 7:30 that evening. In fact, we stay open 6 days a week till 7:30. Sundays till 6pm. I'm sorry you missed us. If you'd like to come by, and still have your button, I'd be happy to extend to you the special offer on your visit . Regards, Lisa Velvet Ice Collection
Kristina May 06, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Just a quick note: The Seed Bank is always closed on Saturdays.
Karina Ioffee May 07, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Want to see more reader thoughts about the impacts of Butter & Eggs on local business? Check out the very lively conversation on our Facebook page by clicking here. https://www.facebook.com/PetalumaPatch?ref=hl
Christian Stoll-Dreeszen May 07, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Thank you for your comment, thought I think you missed the point of the article. I would like to encourage residents and visitors to think of ways the city, people, and businesses can change the atmosphere of downtown after the parade, and encourage shoppers to stick around. So rather then list all the negatives, perhaps you can contribute something positive to the idea pool? Ask yourself what would you like downtown to look like after the parade and what could make that happen?
Christian Stoll-Dreeszen May 07, 2013 at 08:29 PM
I love hearing about things like this! Meeting new people at these types of events is what always makes me look forward to the event the next year, and encourages me to visit the town even when there is nothing special going on.
Christian Stoll-Dreeszen May 07, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Thank you so much for your kind offer! I will definitely drop in next time I'm in town to say hi!
maureen baumgartner May 07, 2013 at 08:43 PM
T. S. is correct! We DID stay open, til 5 or 6, w/ 30% off deals, as we do every year. Unlike the other businesses commenting here, ours directly fronts the MAIN parade route, and I can tell you the families are not there to shop, and they leave after the parade. None want to brave the crowds of rowdy drunks that spill out of the bars, blocking the sidewalks. Nor can they bring in items to frame, thanks to no parking anywhere near our store. 2nd year in a row we had fights & arrests in front of our store. For over an hour, I heard the young group on the bench outside berating our store, then when I went out to get our stuff back inside, one young man kept trying to taunt me w/hand gestures (I remained silent), and actually struck my sales box on my way back, trying to knock it out of my arms. Luckily I said only "excuse me" as I believe he was the same guy who minutes later, aching for a fight, beat a man unconscious in the street as we left. Christian, no way are my customers or parents with kids going to brave these rowdy groups around my door or haul a picture to frame for blocks just to face thugs. Don't blame the merchants; we lost a Sat's sales and we WERE open! B&E, with all it's beer tents, does NOT boost sales. Most who came in just wanted to use their cell phones! Blame the planners, that allow it to become a drunkfest, rather than a family parade, which is what it should be! It's "Butter" and Eggs, not BEER and Eggs! You're blaming the wrong people.
kittykat5 May 07, 2013 at 11:34 PM
This article was just one person who wanted to complain. Small towns like what Petaluma wants to still be known as, the merchants usally close up shops during the parades or special events. I bet you get mad when stores close early on Sunday. Stop blaming the merchants, blame the real problem the Drunks
Jeff Muchow May 09, 2013 at 03:06 PM
I agree Christian! The culture of the post parade celebration needs to change. When the McNears' Saloon owner decides to close at 3PM on a day guaranteed to generate alcohol sales because he doesn't want to deal with drunks, you know you have a problem...
Bookworm May 09, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Looks like if Butter and Eggs is to be a Petaluma-friendly event, alcohol needs to be minimized. When my kids were young, it was not a problem. It seems that the encouragement of alcohol consumption is ruining the day for many, judging from the comments. (When there are outside concessions selling it, that is encouragement.) otherwise, the concessionaires need to pay the cost of doubling or tripling police presence, whatever it takes - and contributing to a fund to recompense others for the losses they suffer while alcohol despensers make a profit. Or perhaps the alcohol should be limited to the usual permanent venues, with responsible dispensing. If people cannot have a good time without a drink, something is very wrong. I am sad to see a joyous occasion turned into an opportunity for bad behavior.
wdk May 10, 2013 at 03:58 AM
I work on Kentucky Sreet, and a customer visiting Petaluma for the first time (she unfortunately missed the parade) asked me "...is this what Petaluma is like?" referring to all of the drunk people who were on the street. We shouldn't have to defend Petaluma and explain ourselves to visitors. It's embarrassing. There is definitely an opportunity to make this event better.
T.Sprocket May 10, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Christian, I don't think I missed the point of your commentary at all. You are wondering why some businesses close on events like the Butter & Eggs day and I gave you my opinion as to why some do close. If you would like a positive comment to help you feel better. I'll give you two. First, it is nice that people like you take the time to express their opinions and feelings on Patch. Secondly, a solution to the issues at the Butter & Eggs festival is to turn the beer taps off so as not to encourage drunken behavior. This probably won't happen however. I do find it interesting that a business (Jeff posted below that McNear's closed early) who relies on alcohol sales decided to shut down at 3pm because of the excessive drinking and problems associated with it. When a bar shuts down because of too much drinking you have identified the reason why other retail businesses shut down. Don't you think Christian?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something