Businesses Raise Downtown Issues
Downtown Pinehurst has an identity crisis, and it is hurting business.
That is the message several downtown business owners delivered to the Pinehurst Village Council Wednesday during its regular work session.
“It seems like there are more and more and more activities that are happening in the village of Pinehurst that are hurting us and not helping us,” said Deborah Myatt, of Le Faux Chateau. “What we are asking you to do is determine if the village is more of an activity center or a business district.”
The council took no action during the meeting.
Myatt and other business owners told the council that free community-oriented events hurt business because they consume valuable parking and bring nonshoppers downtown.
“They are coming for a free event,” she said. “They are not coming to shop in our shops.”
That assertion seemed to take several council members by surprise.
“We thought the activities were proactive,” Mayor Ginsey Fallon said. “Now you are finding they are a detriment.”
The business owners proposed a simple solution.
“We would like to see a lot of these things moved to the Arboretum,” she said. “You can have activities there 24/7 without hurting the businesses that are struggling to survive.”
Sherry Mortenson, who owns the Faded Rose, said the village has an identity crisis. She said the village is a historic quaint resort destination, not a community center. She said she is worried all the community-based activities are destroying that image.
“I don’t want to ruin the goose that laid the golden egg, and I think that’s what is happening,” she said.
Bruce Bishop, who co-owns Cool Sweats with his wife, Barbara, said the community events are beneficial for businesses.
“Do they shop right away? No,” he said. “But if they have a good time, they’re likely to say, ‘Let’s go back.’”
He said struggles of the village businesses are tied to the resort.
“My opinion is that when the hotel booms, the village booms, and when the hotel is dead, business (downtown) is dead.”
He said until business comes back to the resort, he thinks all the businesses are “in for a rough go.”
Other issues the business owners brought up included providing business owners regular, written notification about parking in front of the stores and improving the ambience and safety in the village by adding bench seating and lighting.
In a phone interview after the meeting, Myatt said she thinks businesses and the community events are both important to the village, but she just thinks they can’t co-exist in the same space.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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