Downtown businesses will turn to special events over the next several months as shop owners work to recover from weeks of low sales.
Galveston escaped Hurricane Harvey with much less flooding and damage than other Houston-area cities, but the effects to island businesses were almost immediate. Shops on tourist hub The Strand experienced sharp decreases in sales and other local businesses around downtown reported small numbers of customers in general, owners said.
While business is picking up, shops still need to recoup the money lost after the storm, said Trey Click, executive director of the Galveston Downtown Partnership. In part of an effort to do that, some downtown shops will participate in and host two monthly events to encourage business and spending, Click said.
“Business hasn’t rebounded in retail like it has in food and beverage,” Click said. “It’s still slow. We could use more business but it’s less dire than it was right after Harvey. We’re just trying to get people down there.”
One of the events, called First Friday on Postoffice Street, will encourage residents and tourists to explore the street while businesses offer discounts on gift cards and shop items, said Monica Barry, owner of ha.ba’s, a retail shop on 2213 Postoffice St.
The event will take place 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month and will also feature live music, Barry said. The first event took place Friday.
Postoffice Street shop owners were already thinking of holding an event such as First Friday before Harvey, but slow business from the storm incentivized them to actually get it rolling, Barry said.
“That was kind of the little kick in the behind that we needed,” Barry said. “We’re all looking forward to that, kind of taking a little sting out of the Harvey effect.”
The other event, Sip ’n Shop on The Strand, is a similar concept to take place one Thursday night each month, said Joyce Calver-McLean, who owns Head to Footsies on 2211 Strand. Strand businesses will offer beverages while people shop, and many will hold specials and giveaways, Calver-McLean said. The first event will take place 5 p.m. Thursday, and the following ones are scheduled for Nov. 16 and Dec. 14, Calver-McLean said.
“Anything at this point will help,” Calver-McLean said. “We’ve had some activity on the weekends, but weekdays have been really slow. This is a way to get out in front of people.”