For the week of August 26 thru September 1, 1998  

Late night shopping over Wagon Days

Express Staff Writer

Responding quickly to the Ketchum City Council’s challenge to increase downtown social activity in the evening, the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce will encourage late-night shopping over Wagon Days weekend.

The city council had allocated an additional $12,500 to the chamber to help fund activity in Ketchum’ s downtown at night. Chamber director Carol Waller said part of these funds would be used to purchase a banner to hang across Main Street, as well as posters for local restaurants that would encourage diners to stay downtown and shop after dinner over the long Labor Day weekend.

Waller said the chamber surveyed local retail owners and managers to gauge interest in keeping stores open until 8 or 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night during Wagon Days. Enough store owners responded positively--about 20, Waller said--to make the effort a go.

"We thought it was a natural opportunity," she stated. "It is the busiest weekend of the year, with plenty of folks already here and downtown evening activities already in place--the Friday night Gallery Walk and BoBo’s concert and the Saturday night street dance.

"We hope this will be an incentive for stores to keep their doors open longer and hopefully attract additional business," she said.

Waller noted that the chamber and retail merchants have tried in the past to encourage late-night shopping, with mixed results.

"We’re willing to try it again," Waller said. "We’re forming a downtown events task force, but it is also up to the businesses to make it viable."

Waller calls the Wagon Days weekend trial, "a small step to see how it goes."

City Councilwoman Chris Potters, who spearheaded the city council effort to get more night-time activity out of the chamber, said she was pleased with the effort.

"I’m glad to see they’re rising to the challenge," she said. "It’s a good start."


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