The Christmas season is make-or-break time for most retailers. It’s typically when shops become profitable after running in the red for most of the year.
But while visions of bog box retailers’ ads run through our heads, one Atlanta councilman is pushing for gift buyers to funnel their dollars toward neighborhood business districts.
Kwanza Hall, District 2 Councilman, whose area includes Little Five Points west of Moreland Avenue, the Old Fourth Ward and Midtown communities is telling constituents to “keep it intown.”
The year-long initiative, which has him partnering with Atlanta Intown Paper, aims to get shoppers to “discover something new and at the same time, support the lifeblood of the American economy: small business.”
Merchants in Little Five Points, where Hall went recently to showcase those businesses, said they welcome the boost.
While many stores in Little Five points are eclectic and reflect the neighborhood’s funky vibe, the business district has lost a few shoppers to the massive Edgewood Retail District.
What’s more, some of the newer shopkeepers told the councilman a big impediment to business is the aggressive ticketing by PARKatlanta, which enforces metered parking ordinances.
Some Parkatlanta representatives’ interaction with would-be shoppers and ticket issuances, risks driving them away to the bigger shopping centers where parking is free, anyway.
Another concern they expressed was about the panhandlers on Euclid and Moreland avenues who drive away potential customers because they can be aggressive beggars.
Hall said the city council has received plenty of complaints about PARKatlanta and is dealing with it to find a long-term solution. In the short-term, he said he expects the agency to be a little more flexible and use more discretion.
As for the homeless issue, he said police will be stepping up patrols.
Ironically, for several weeks Little Five Points and Inman Park saw their share of homeless people decrease mainly because many of them went to Woodruff Park to join with the Occupy Atlanta movement.
But they came back after the Occupiers were evicted from the park.