Saturday Street Faire aims to attract downtown shoppers

It shouldn’t come as a shock to many that ongoing construction along North Third Avenue is having a big impact on downtown businesses as a whole. While some might suggest there was plenty of notice and time for businesses to prepare, business owner Traci Codde might disagree.

The owner and downtown merchant of Momma’s Closet on North First, however, chose not to sit idly by; it and neighboring Last Call Brewery have chosen to be proactive.

This Saturday, July 23, Momma’s Closet and Last Call Brewery will host a “Summer Evening Vendor Faire”. The event will take place on North First from 3-8 p.m.

A total of 35 vendors have pledged to attend, along with neighboring businesses along North First that will be open. A variety of vendors including food, crafts and others are scheduled to attend.

“We did our first last September, and then we did Downtown Christmas,” Codde said of closing the street and hosting a Street Faire.

She added that having another one now, actively encouraging shoppers to visit downtown, is a must as businesses are going through tough times.

“It’s not just Third Street (Avenue), we all are. All of our businesses. We all feel it,” she said.

The business owner said she is thinking of hosting the summer event and that bringing everyone together will hopefully be an effective way to let people know that everyone is still very open for business.

“It’s just something I try to do, bring business downtown,” she said. “Last Call has arranged for a live band to be here. We’re going to do raffles.

Among the raffle items offered, one will include a dining set donated by the business owner. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the event.

Codde said the past two years have been difficult for downtown merchants due to COVID, the construction of First Avenue and now the closure of Third Avenue between E and F streets.

“We’ve been through a lot in the past two years,” she said.

The event organizer shared that she felt people passing by on F Street and seeing the construction often assume downtown is closed.

“It’s not. We’re all up and running. We’re all trying to survive this,” she said, adding that everyone has been affected and it’s important that business owners stick together and do what they can to get through this.

“I don’t think you can ever be prepared enough,” she said in response to knowing about the build well in advance. “Especially if you have a business that you depend on for income. It really put a huge damper on sales.

A typical Saturday no longer has the allure of attracting out-of-town visitors amidst all the construction. A fact that is not only valid, but seems obvious even to the passerby.

“What’s happening on Third is diverting a lot of people from out of town to downtown,” she said, adding that it’s important to let people in the Oakdale community know and surrounding communities that they are there and open for business.

“We do this feature to get people out,” she said of the Saturday Street Faire. “Bring your family. Have a great dinner. Enjoy the music, take a walk in what’s going on here.

David H. Henry