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July 25, 1979 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-25

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The Michigan DaIly-Wednesday, July 25, 1979-Page 5
Merch an ts tap free-spending art fair crowd
By MARK PARRENT Tower Hotel. He said most of the hotel's
Artists aren't the only ones raking in guests are not fair spectators, but the
the cash during the art fair-to the artists themselves.
dozens of business establishments in KURT SCHMID, dining room
the street fair areas, the thousands of manager of the adjoining Stage Door
wandering art-lovers represent a restaurant, said the eatery did a "fan-
potential goldmine. tastic" business last year, selling twice
While some critics claim the quality
of the actual art fairs has declined over as many lunches and three to four times
the years (Unlike past years, "it's not a as many dinners as usual.
n e event anymore, said JimMost of the business establishments


Frenza of the area Chamber of Com-
nerce, "It's a lot gaudier."), merchan-
ts look forward to the huge market with
as much vigor and enthusiasm as ever.
Hotels in the city are booked solid,
restaurants often do double or triple
their regular business, and
shopkeepers take advantage of the
crowds to unload slow-moving mer-
chandise at "bargain" prices.
"IT'S A GOOD time to get rid of
junk," said Harlowe Olson, owner of the
Wilkinson Luggage Shop on Main
Street. "You can sell stuff on bargain
days you can't give away the rest of the
Olson pointed to a pile of shiny metal
"rape" whistles on chains. He said the
$5 whistles, which had accumulated a
thin layer of dust, would be reduced to
96 cents and moved outside to sidewalk
tables during the fair festivities.
Another pile, this one of clear
photograph holders shaped like houses,
awaited a similar fate.
"By Saturday I guarantee we won't
have a picture house or a rape whistle
left in the store," he said with confiden-
OLSON SAID most of the shoppers

Just about everything in the stores goes on sale as area
marchants anticipate the buying powrer of the hordes of

artfair shoppers.
during the "bargain days" are
typically not his regular customers, but
what he called out-of-town "bargain
hunters." '
"I think probably more than half -
would be from outside the area," said
George Wild, proprietor of Wild's Men's
Shop on State Street. Like Olson, Wild
said he takes advantage of the large
crowds to unload hard-to-sell items at
reduced prices. "No buyer is that good
for a store that he doesn't end up with a
bad item that doesn't really sell," he
While retailers like Olson and Wild
mainly dispose of odd items during the

fair some businesses depend on the
street fair buyers to help them through
the usually slow summer months.
"THERE ARE merchants that really
depend on art fair and Christmas
business to get through the year,"
Frenza said.
Retailers are not the only business
establishments that share in the art
fair prosperity. Hotels and restaurants
do a brisk business during the four-day
"We usually run 75 per cent occupan-
cy during the regular year (but) 100 per
cent in the four days of the art fair,"
said Kevin Berrymore of the Bell

in the three major city shopping distric-
ts-South University, State Street, and
downtown-are members of business
associations in their particular area.
The three organizations each help plan
and coordinate the art fair for their
respective areas.
Many of the businesspersons said the
art fairs help acquaint people with the
business districts of the city. Frenza
said the suburban Arborland shopping
center attempted to hold an art fair of
its own several years ago. Since it was a
colossal failure, said Frenza, surroun-
ding retailing centers, including the
huge Briarwood mall, have not attem-
pted to draw the lucrative art fair
business from the city merchants.
One business establishment smack in
the middle of the Ann Arbor Street Art
Fair frenzy on S. University does not
enjoy the increased business of many of
its neighbors. Since it is surrounded by
crowds making car access difficult, the
C-Ted Standard gas station is closed for
the four days, said employee Jim
Wolfe. The employees can take a
vacation for the four days, and besides,
he said, most of the art-lovers would
just want to use the station's restroom

'No solution' to parking nightmare during fair

University and city parking officials
say they are doing their best to provide
enough parking for the thousands of art
fair visitors this year. But, as the chief
of Ann Arbor's parking system put it,'
"There's no solution" to the annual
problem of where to park during the art
"Traffic-wise, it's been a real night
:mare for the last few years, but we
'Traffic-wise, it's been
a real nightmare for the
last few years, but we
think we've done a
pretty good job. '-Cy
Hughes, City Parking
System Manager.
think we've done a pretty good job,"
said City Parking System Manager Cy
Huges. -
The city can provide-as many as 1,350
arking spaces for visitors in carports
otown, tsee map, pp. 10-11), said
Hghes. Some of the spaces have hadto
be reserved for motorists whobuy mon-
y parking stickers from the city, he
lHe also aid the city's parking struc-
at East Washington Street and
first Street is not available for visitor
Although City Council had not set the
Miig fees for the city's carports
TA buses and the Liberty
ettledeehers provide a seli.
t to art faib-parking prob.
6sSeepage 8. _

during the art fair by press time,
Hughes estimated motorists would be
charged $2.00 to park in a city carport
Four city streets are off limits for
parking cars during the art fair:
* State Street - from East William
Street to East Washington Street.
* North University Street - from
Thayer Street to State Street.
" Liberty Street-from State Street
to Maynlrd Street.
" Maynard Street-from Liberty
Street to East William Street.
Hughes cautioned motorists against
parking in no-parking zones. Although
he said the city does not go out of its

way to issue parking tickets, "'we do
have to enforce the parking ordinances
very strictly, because it can get out of
control very quickly."
When one car is parked in a
prohibited zone, people think it's legal
to park there, and soon traffic is
blocked, Hughes explained.
The city does not hesitate to tow cars
blocking traffic, because these cars
present a safety hazard if an ambulan-
ce or fire truck has to get through, he
Robert Muller, Assistant Manager
for Parking Operations for the Univer-
sity, said the University's carports, fill

up by 9 or 10 a.m. on art fair days. Many
of the 2,300 spaces on central campus
had to be reserved for University staff
with parking stickers, and another 100
or so spaces were closed for renovation,
he said.
Muller said. 10 extra staff members
were added to parking operations in or-
der to have an attendant at each of the
University's carports. Motorists are
being charged 50 cents to park in the
University's carports.
When parking spaces fill up, Muller
said, the University will inform
motorists through signs and barricades
at the carports and on nearby streets.

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Sun 3:30-8:3Opm

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