Joy Meredith is the president of Main Street Palm Springs, Downtown and Uptown Business Association, she says local store owners are asking for the city’s support.
“We see a lot of effort going towards the restaurants and, of course, we support that, but also we want to make sure that retailers are not getting left out of the equation. Maybe there are some things that we could do that would help retail just as much as restaurants,” said Meredith, who also owns Crystal Fantasy.
Purple tier regulations restrict retail occupancy to 25 percent, meaning some smaller stores are only allowed to have one or two customers inside at a time.
To help attract new customers or passersby, some business owners suggest allowing stores to move displays onto a small portion of the sidewalk to attract customers.
One Palm Springs resident, Matt Robinson, shared a post on Facebook about expanding displays.
He writes, in part, “My vision would be for outdoor displays not outdoor sales to attract indoor shoppers, not outdoor retail sales. The guidelines should be set as a test period equal to street parklets for restaurants and reviewed at that time, citywide for all ground floor retail businesses. Each business is permitted an outdoor display no larger than somewhere between 16 and 32 square feet and may be divided into no more that two displays up to 16(?) square feet each or one single display up to the total 32(?) square feet.”
Jerry Sanders, owner of British Invasion on Palm Canyon, recently set up a display outside of his store, but had to remove it, after code compliance officers said it violates city code.
“Right now, currently, we don’t have displays outside on the side walk, but that may be something that the council is open to depending upon how we continue on over the next few weeks with COVID in the purple category,” said Palm Springs city manager, David Ready.
Ready also says council is willing to work with businesses to develop a plan.
He says residents should reach out to the city or Main Street Palm Springs with concerns or suggestions regarding retail, so it can be discussed at future council meetings.
“We’ve relaxed some of the signage restrictions to give people more visibility, so certainly we’re open to making modifications. Right now, we’re focused on the restaurants, and then we’ll see how that goes. If there’s a need for retail to come outside, and expand, we’re certainly open to that,” said Ready.
But as Yelp reports that 58 percent of retail stores have permanently closed nationwide, Meredith hopes some discussions can take place sooner rather than later.
“I just want to make sure we’re doing all that we can to help the small businesses make their way through this. It’s a very challenging time for many, and I want to help as many as we can to succeed,” said Meredith.