Minor rebellion

My friends at Grape and Bean have won a small victory against the strict code regulations in Alexandria, VA and made it into USA Today for their troubles:

When David Gwathmey and his wife opened their coffee and wine bar in Alexandria, Va.’s “Old Town” section, he defied a ban on sidewalk signs to try to steer customers their way. Now that the city has eased its restriction, what Gwathmey did surreptitiously, he can do in the daylight. Already, he has seen the difference.

“It definitely drives foot traffic,” says Gwathmey, 38, noting that the sign may have boosted the number of weekend visitors to his shop, Grape + Bean, by 20%. “This is a very strong statement and action that supports (the city’s) claim to want to support small businesses.”

Alexandria is one of several communities that have lifted or are considering loosening restrictions on sidewalk signs and banners to help shore up businesses struggling to survive a recession that has slowed consumer spending and depleted municipal tax revenue.

Grape and Bean is one block off the main strip of King St. in Alexandria, so it was easy to miss without the sidewalk sign. Check them out if you’re in the area.


2 thoughts on “Minor rebellion”

  1. Wouldn’t the increase in business be attributable to the fact that this store was the ONLY store with a sidewalk sign (since they were illegal)? When every story has a sidewalk sign, won’t this store be lost in the crowd, just like it was before?

    What increased traffic was the fact that this store stood out from the others, not the mere fact that it had a sidewalk sign. At least, that’s my guess based on no real information.

  2. My own opinion is also based on limited information, but my own view is that we were limited by our ability to let people know we existed in the first place. We had a Clover brewing machine and Counter Culture Coffee. We were one of a few businesses around Arlington that offered either of these things, and the only one that offered both.

Comments are closed.