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November 26, 2005

Comments

Joanne

I agree, Susie. Remember the old "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval"? I'd love to see a marketing campaign started called, "Buy Burlingame." We could set up an independent group to determine which businesses have the right to post the "Buy Burlingame" seal in their windows (I would suggest that they must give a minumum number of dollars back to the community -- which would not be hard for our Mom and Pops to do, because most of them generously support the schools, etc.) We could have "Buy Burlingame" seals on city street banners, cars, etc., to help market this group of businesses, etc. and reminding consumers of our desire to support this group of businesses. We could also have a website where the businesses are listed (and their community donations also listed)...Maybe this could be done under the umbrella of CBB?

I love this idea. I wonder if the Chamber has thought about it. It is simply a way to raise conciousness about buying local.

Susie

Well my first excursion at shopping local went great -

I popped into Potpurri for the cutest 'trinket' gift for my daughters - in and out pretty quick, they gift wrapped and I only spent $26.00 total! (plus parking)

Then I zipped into Weimax and bought my case of moderatly priced wine for the upcoming gatherings -

I then went into some of the stores on Broadway - the new clothing store has some great looking items - cute sweaters, scarfs - also, nice bracelets for great price - and Atelier of course has the best assortment of hostess gifts...

Not only do I feel excited about the holiday shopping season, but I do feel good 'buying in Burlingame'

Joanne - I love the 'Buy Burlingame' idea - I think that out local stores would be very successful if we all supported them - that with other outside visitor shopping - well goodness...who knows...the skys the limit!

Today on Broadway, I dropped my dog at Poochini's for grooming, dumped my dry cleaning at French Tailor, got my coffee at Il Piccolo, and stopped in at Laguna Broadway Florist for a prom corsage. Lunch will be at the little Japanese place closer to the El Camino end.

Cathryn Baylock

Susie,
I loved hearing about your excursion. I take my two boys Christmas shopping downtown ever year and I go to places that giftwrap like Potpourri, Tribeca and Plaza de Paws. Oh, and of course, Morning Glory for my teenage nieces. Thanks for starting this thread. We have the best two downtowns and need to take care of our merchants on a very personal level. Best wishes for the season...

The tree lighting is a wonderful opportunity to stroll around and get ideas for gifts. One of my favorite spots is Poupourri. Each year I have been able to purchase several items here. Those I've sent to Europe are the most appreciated of all, as this store is so unique, with something for everyone. Please give them a look!

In the Daily News yesterday there was an article about Broadway merchants feeling encouraged about the new Broadway businesses. Can't wait to see Broadway Grill soon to be opened in the old Bank building!

In the Examiner about the start of the shopping season - Along Burlingame Avenue, Jenny Duburg, manager of White Black House Market, a women's apparel shop, was one of several area merchants who said retail activity was flat. It seems like a lot of people go to malls where there's a lot of free parking,? she said. Georgia Scanlon of Burlingame said she preferred independent shops and that she wasn't putting herself on a tight budget this year. If I find something I like, I just buy it,? she said.
To support a Burlingame business that does not require parking, there was an article in the Daily Journal - http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=51567eddate=11/28/2005 - about a Burlingame business called Sheer and Sultry which sells lingerie for the well rounded women among us! On the web at www.sheerandsultry.com

White Black House is a subsidiary of Chicos FAS, Inc. If sales are flat, it may not be because of parking. I think that people are looking to spend their hard earned dollars on unique items. This possibility disappears when the delicate balance of stores (independents and corporates) disappear, and that may be what has happened here.

I can't tell you how happy I am to see that there is public awareness of what I see to be a real problem. I posted a long..uh...verbal vomiting, during the summer (and have never been able to find it in the archives to see if there was any response *Editors note: We located the original post and added the link. )to basically hit residents over the head with the plight of the small merchant. Ladies and Gentlemen...I have a news flash for you...we are not getting rich here. In fact, there is talk among us about pulling out of Broadway altogether. This year has been horrible, retail wise. The fourth quarter is what sustains us through the slow first quarter and beyond...and we are down dramatically over last year.

I love the Buy Burlingame idea....but please don't forget Broadway. We are DYING over here and with all our work, donating to every auction, etc....we wonder why so very few members of all those organizations ever set foot in our stores.

I am tempted to put a sign in the window that reads : COMING SOON>>>TATOOS/BAIL BONDS/CHECK CASHING...if you don't support your local independents, this will be the future of Broadway. We support our local causes, but we need your support to insure our survival.

I thought about standing in front as a bell-ringer. I thought about applying for ACTUAL non-profit status (since that's where I am anyway) and accepting donations....or maybe having my own fund-raiser/silent auction.
HEY...donate to the MY KIDS COLLEGE TUITION fund...since I have BOTH of them in college now and haven't taken a salary in THREE YEARS!!!!

We try and stay proactive...we try and stay positive...we keep hoping for a better future on Broadway, but those of us who run businesses AND are the driving force behind the transformation are getting exhausted and discouraged. I am sharing rent with the clothing store, even though I really can't afford it, so they would stay and have a holiday season on Broadway. My hope is that getting another RETAIL store will attract more. But they are getting discouraged due to lack of traffic. They may not locate here permanently.

HOW DO WE ATTRACT THE TYPE OF MERCHANTS THE COMMUNITY WANTS WHEN THE EXISTING ONES ARE DYING???? How do you go persuade a bakery to come here when they ask about foot traffic? How do I get another clothing retailer here when they scope out the street and see that the only traffic comes from people running in for coffee?

Please, Burlingame...you insure the future of Broadway with your own hard earned dollars. When you shop a big box and not us...you strengthen them and weaken us. You have no right to complain then when Broadway becomes one giant MANICURE MECCA. It's not enough to look in the window and say "WHAT A CUTE LITTLE STORE" as you get your coffee. (and please don't say "You're never open" because when you work the kind of hours I do, it's really hard to smile sweetly and explain that we can't open at 7AM when people are getting coffee)

In a nut shell....if this holiday season is bad for us...I will guarantee that you will see an exodus in the next year. At some point, you just figure you gave it your best shot and the people REALLY don't care.

I am not promoting Hillsdale, but we were there this weekend and I had forgotten how "hassle free" their shopping experience is. They even advertise this very important fact.

I suggest you email the Broadway BID and the DBID with the "Buy Burlingame" idea - its great.

My daughter loves Black White and we have spent many a-dollar there because their clothes are tasteful though expensive. In addition to have a store that a teenager likes in Burlingame is quite rare!

I promise, promise, promise, diva, we will shop more in your store which I love because you too have very tasteful things!

Maritsa Chew

Thank you so much for bringing up an issue that is so dear to our hearts on Broadway.

I really don't think that some people realize how hard it is to make a living on Broadway, let alone even make money.

Our new mayor talks about both shopping districts, but has NEVER set foot in my store. Shocking, huh?

I have been on CNN Headline News, Evening Magazine, featured in Gentry in December's holiday issue, twice in the Style Section of the San Francisco Chronicle and a subject of many numerous print and t.v. appearances, yet
because we are not a "shopping" destination, we are devoid of foot traffic.

Why? Because Burlingame loves the thought of beautiful stores, but will continue to shop at Petco, Target and all the places that don't provide the personal service we do.

I think what people have to remember is that you have million and multi-million dollar homes around Broadway. Don't you deserve a downtown shopping and service district that meets your level of quality????

I don't even live in Burlingame, but I spent many Monday nights (my only day off by the way) advocating causes on Broadway, such as the lifting of the restaurant moratorium, etc in an effort to bring more foot traffic to the block.

I can guarantee you that I have investors interested in taking my business to other cities, that I know will fully support my efforts.

We can only work so much without a paycheck before it just gets too old, especially when other cities will welcome our concept.

Some cities even gift low rate loans to energize their downtowns and assist businesses in starting and growing.

We don't even get our events posted on the city's website.

By the way, Santa will be on Broadway on Dec. 8th. Please call Ross Bruce for more details.

All we are asking is that if you need a special gift, or design service, try Atelier, or a beautiful personalized pet gift basket, try Doodledings. We even personalize fortune cookie boxes for your doggies not to mention our Yappy Meal, that is soooo popular. If you want a specialty candy not found at Walgreens, try Nuts for Candy.

Looking for an elegant piece of furniture? Try Sutterfields or the Antique Market, both exquisite stores with high quality and affordable pricing.

We also have a fabulous Meditteranean restaurant, Mivan, not the mention the wonderful Steak place which is so popular. Show up an hour early for dinner, and hit the stores that make your downtown tick.

We are creating this "shopping district" as Broadway Village, similar to the Carmel concept or Union Street in San Francisco.

If you really want the unique mom and pop stores to sustain life, than jump in your car and do your holiday shopping on Broadway I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed, but surprised to find such treasures!

My decision is not Big Box v. small store on Broadway. I find my needs met on Broadway, and go to Costco for things I can't find on Broadway, like cases of bottled water, cheap bathroom tissue and loads of beverages. And though parking is free, it's a hassle, but I still go. If the shops are satisfying a need, folks will go no matter if the parking is free, or the store is convenient.

Hillsdale has great advertising. I love the Christmas magazine they produce every year highlighting all the different things one can get first, then indicating which store to find it in. A Holiday glossy could be done for Broadway, along with the Buy Burlingame program.

Susie

I am so pleased with the steps that Broadway has made ...I love the village idea etc...

Thats why we are pledging to shop for Christmas there...we need to tell our neighbors to do the same...

I want the shops to survive for another year so the ideas of 'buy Burlingame' can take hold...

I recall Mrs. Keighran mentioning during her campaign about working with the Chamber to do Burlingame promotions...but that will take time....meanwhile WE need to keep the wonderful merchants here...

Please merchants...stick it out...I am looking forward to Santa coming on December 8th -

The question is HOW can we make a difference this year? Pass out flyers to the nearby neighborhood? Maybe we should put up flyers in Piccolo reminding everyone to come back later to shop...

As far as parking goes - another issue that will take some time to address (I sure like the annual parking sticker idea, but alas thats another thread) so this year lets get healthy (and European!) put on proper shoes and coat and go straight to one of the lots behind Broadway...I always find parking if I go straight there and avoid the downtown drive by...get some fresh air...and yes...plug the meter...those extra dollars will help save our village...

I'm off to get some hostess gifts...

:)

One very simple solution might be if the CITY OF BURLINGAME and the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE include the Broadway holiday events on their calendar website. Why are they not doing this?

It is only by word of mouth - and the Burlingame Voice - that we know that Il Piccolo is hosting the Radio Drama but what else is happening on that night. The residents want to know!

Resident

We've been saying for years that there's no strategic or tactical plan for promoting Broadway, let alone any part of Burlingame -- including, by-the-way Auto Row. So hopefully with the change in Council makeup, we'll see proactive efforts to market all of our business districts -- not just to the residents of Burlingame who are already familiar with our fair city, but to others as well who we want to visit Burlingame and spend their $ here.

I haven't heard anyone in the city say that they're happy with our current Chamber's efforts on any front (either attracting new businesses to town or promoting existing businesses), so it's time for action and time for change!

The Burlingame Voice called Ross Bruce and found out the following program highlights:

Holidays on Broadway
December 8th:

5pm - 7pm
Featuring
Mills High School Jazz Band
BIS Choir
A Bell Choir
Santa Claus - Photo opportunities for all

and of course the Il Picollo radio drama show

I feel confident that now Linda is involved with the Chamber, good things will be happening and business owners and residents will feel the Chamber is an important part of this town. Sometime ago someone suggested that the Chamber gives a presentation in front of council to let us know about the Burlingame business community. That sounds like a good idea!

Admin/Ross, how are those events marketed to the community? If I didn't read here, I would not have know.

Who is Linda? I guess I missed something.

Another Resident

Seems to me there are at least two questions every business person must ask:
1) Am I offering a product that people want/need at a reasonable price?
2) Are people aware of my offerings and is it convenient for them to get it?
Perhaps both questions need to be looked at. I may be one of the people that has not bought anything at Atelier or the dog store in the last three years. However, that does NOT mean I've been buying at the big-box stores. I simply have not bought ANY furniture in the past three years (whether at Atelier, Pottery Barn or anywhere else and when I did purchase the stuff I have I did NOT purchase it at big chains). Similary, I do NOT buy my dog's food at Target, Petco or Costco. I used to buy it at another mom and pop (Pets R Us in the Burlingame Plaza). When they moved, I switched my dog to an inferior brand at Lunardi's. If I had known that the dog store on Broadway sold dog food I would have considered buying it there. So it seems to me there is room for improvement on both ends: finding out what the customer wants/needs AND marketing, advertising.

Another Resident

I agree with the above writer.

And, another factor is: Time.

People want convenience. And, as they Broadway business-owner notes, they are not willing to pay a lot for it...

I'm a local pastor and I could preach with lightening coming out of my ears, have more service times, and promise a guest appearance by the Pope, but people don't have a lot of time to spare- so for twenty years its been one service, once a week and keep it moving towards the parish-hall treats.

My church-niche is very specialized in time/place/piety. Thank heavens (literally) I have a sweet and faithful "customer base." My pastorate is mostly a "listening ministry" and in ministering thus, I find how to help the people to find what they need. (What they need is a subject for another blog...)

When people spare God about one hour a week, you can imagine the time they want to devote to parking, entering multiple specialized stores and- the expense to boot.

There is an interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal (11/29) which mentions a Harvard Business School's professor saying, "A man doesn't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. He wants to buy a quarter-inch hole."

In other words, it doesn't matter what he buys to get his job done- he just wants the job done. Businesses which cater to this need in their essence, such as Fed Ex and Kleenex succeed, while over-specialized items like Vanilla/Diet/Lemon/No-Caffeine/Pepsi will be pulled off the shelf.

So- for Broadway stores, I would continue to emphasize Broadway's wonderful charm, the easy parking, may a priority to add to the pedestrian mix when considering new stores, and improve the store's offerings with an eye to convenience.

Service, unfortunately, takes time.

And a lot of people do not want to pay for it.

See you on Broadway-

Pete

Joanne

Speaking of Broadway stores, I love Prestons and I spend a considerable amount of money there each year. Why? (I certainly don't "need" candy, although I suppose it is debateable whether chocolate is one of the four major food groups).

I can buy candy at a chain, like Sees. But, I'm a Preston's customer because of the specialized service and packaging. They don't just have truffles...they have truffles that are attractive packaged and ready for me to quickly pick up as a gift for the "someone who has everything." Their pre-packaged black and white licorice has become my "trademark" hostess gift for my bookclub. Same with the pre-packaged chocolates with the sports wraps for the soccer coach, baseball coach, basketball coach, etc.

Visiting a friend's ski cabin? There are chocolate boots and skis. Want something to go with a 50th birthday? Have them customize one of their birthday squares or spell out the person's name with chocolate letters. Preston's also does a specialized party business -- making custom molds as favors -- and a corporate gift business (which is probably how they pay their rent). Last, but not least, they know how to market to the season.

So when I need "peppermint" ice cream for Christmas, or "strawberry ice" for summer barbeques or chocolate Thanksgivng turkeys, one knows where to find them.

Susie

There was a very interesting story in todays Chronicle about SF Small Businesses and building awareness...quite timely with our shop Broadway and Burlingame thread.

I think there definately needs to be more marketing as to the businesses in Burlingame ...

And like anything else...new habits take time...I think that during the 80's and 90's we became so accustomed to fighting cross town traffic, parking in a huge parking lots that seem like miles long...we conditioned ourselves into believing it is convenient... only to go to a 'one stop shop' where we usually end up spending hundreds of dollars on STUFF because it is on sale...

It takes time, and practice (like losing weight) to learn new habits...but in the end we and the Burlingame merchants would all benefit...and what a good example to set for the kids...

I also bought holiday gifts at Prestons this year. They have a great assortment of unusual items.

Linda Carlton is helping the Chamber and DBID. She is very personable and efficient. She contacted me about some banners left in a renovated building and seems to want to get things done. Another example is I told her about a new merchant on Burlingame Avenue and she emailed me that she would go and talk to him that day. I think the Chamber needs her!

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