Letter to the editor: S.O.S — Save Our Saturdays

Editor:

As far back in time as anyone can remember, Saturdays have been and still are premiere shopping days for customers and retailers alike.

We, your downtown Edmonds retailers, want to continue to serve you on Saturdays but we understand that Walkable Main Street (WMS) is a deterrent to many of you for a variety of reasons.

WMS was a stop gap program implemented last year with the intention of helping the Main Street restaurants during a very critical time. The city deserves kudos for helping them.

Now it is the city’s turn to help the retailers…

With the advent of “streateries,” WMS, which closed Main between 6th and 3rd on many weekends last year, is no longer necessary. While an attractive and fun concept, it does deter our customers from coming to the downtown to shop.

We are not proposing to eliminate WMS altogether. Instead, just limit it to Sundays.

Edmonds is still a great place to live, work, eat AND shop. Our vibrant community has always supported a mix of businesses and livelihoods for many of us. Let’s continue.

Please let your Edmond’s government officials know your concerns.  Email them here.

We are always grateful for your patronage. Thank you!

Lili Hall, Garden Gear
Kimberly Koenig, Rogue
Andy Cline, Cline Jewelers
Teri Soelter, Teri’s Toybox
Robert Boehlke, House Wares
Kate Guthrie, Glazed and Amazed
Jenny Murphy, Sound Styles
Rebecca Anjewierden, Rebekah’s
Jenny Shore, The Wooden Spoon
Nan Wilson, Interiors of Edmonds
Carla Gabbett, Treasures and Teas
Liz Morgan, FIELD
Manya Schilperoort, Maje Gallery
Jen Lawson, Crow

  1. Thank you to these downtown merchants for speaking up and offering a lovely compromise for WMS. While the actions taken last year provided a lifeline for the restaurants and a much needed community outlet for residents, the health of the retailers must be taken into consideration. The mayor and city council should take to heart the medical adage “First do no harm”.

    1. I appreciate this thoughtful and respectful editorial and wholeheartedly agree. I have been a lifelong Edmonds resident and want to support ALL of our valued neighbors, including each of our businesses. Flexibility, collaboration, and compromise within a respectful, mutually supportive framework are what it takes to maintain a healthy community at all times (and particularly during this pandemic). In that spirit, let’s do WMS on Sundays and encourage everyone to visit Edmonds on BOTH Saturday and Sunday, and particularly stretch beyond the three blocks to encompass all of our valued businesses.

  2. I watched the “dog and pony show” on the city council broadcast on Tuesday into the late evening and I was appalled by the lack of professionalism and insight displayed by some of the council members regarding this particular issue.

  3. Bravo!! Well said. Thanks for speaking out so eloquently and showing your support for our Downtown Edmonds community of retailers and customers.

  4. Another example of the five not listening to its constituents and small business owners. It’s obvious part of the council is becoming a dictatorship. I will be downtown from noon to 2 o’clock on fifth and Main supporting the small businesses today.

    1. I believe the restaurants have been helped by WMS., but in order to participate they have invested monies into the street dining structures, etc. To suddenly withdrawal the reason for their investment of those monies is unreasonable and will undoubtedly will effect their bottom line.
      WMS has brought much positive energy to the City and I hate to see that cease.
      I also believe the City should support retailers.
      Another possible solution that may help both parties–
      Main Street open to traffic and parking on Saturday from 8am-5pm; and
      WMS Friday and Saturday night from 5pm-10pm and all day Sunday.

  5. Emailed council for you! If I had known the impact WMS had on retailers, I wouldn’t have voted for it in the survey. I think this is a nice compromise.

  6. I too stand with the downtown Edmonds retailers. We all rallied around our eating establishments when their need to survive the COVID 19 restrictions was taking its toll on them – their very survival as a business was at stake. Now it is time for all of us, including our eating establishments, to make known our support for our downtown Edmonds retailers. For our retailers to survive this pandemic, the time is now for all of Edmonds to support them. All of our downtown Edmonds small business owners are important. “Save Our Saturdays”

  7. What a great idea. Let’s leave the streets open on Saturdays and closed on Sunday. These merchants deserve to have parking access for their customers. They can’t boost their sales by putting merchandise on the street. While the restaurants have been accommodated to keep businesses open, the retail shops are important too during this pandemic. Let’s help all our downtown businesses thrive.

    1. Thank you, downtown retailers, for this letter. While I would like to think the mayor and his squad of four on the council will listen I do not hold out much hope. Edmonds is like the Titanic with Nelson and his squad stuck on their course, without regard to the devastating impact on the thousands of people affected by their decisions.

  8. Great compromise. I support WMS on Sundays only. Need to support all our Edmonds business owners.
    Yes on “Save Our Saturday’s”

  9. I think it is long overdue that we recognize that there are other establishments in Edmonds besides restaurants. The retailers are still struggling to keep their doors open and the city council has shown by their decisions that restaurants are more important. I for one do not want to see our city with a business district filled only with restaurants. If we close the downtown area both Saturdays and Sundays we are only destroying the retailers. I frequently shop downtown on Saturdays and have seen the chaos of no parking and people looking in the windows of retailers only to walk past them to the eateries. I believe the city council should show support for all the downtown businesses and have WMS only on Sundays. Show some heart for these businesses!

  10. I would add my signature to this letter! Thank you, fellow merchants, for submitting this. Justin, Edmonds Vitamins & Herbs

  11. Our downtown businesses survived during the height of the pandemic, and since we are still in the pandemic, I agree that the businesses and restaurants need our support. Downtown Edmonds is a “go to” spot for tourists and for those of us who live here. We don’t want any business to decline due to a lower level of shopping on Saturdays.
    Thank you for adding the “click here” spot so that we can contact the council with our opinion.
    WMS every Sunday would be great.

  12. Sounds like a winner of an idea to me. That also gives the retailers an option for a day off, if the Sunday business doesn’t justify the cost of being open. I also hope the plan is for the parking place shacks to disappear sooner than later too. Those look like a bad accident or, worse yet, a crazy event looking for a place to happen.

  13. Excellent proposal. Just emailed Council to offer enthusiastic support for limiting Walkable Main Street to Sundays only. Save our Saturdays!

  14. I was unable to email the council from the link given, but I am completely in support of limiting WMS to Sunday only. If we neglect the needs of our businesses, all we will have is restaurant row. We need shops, shopping and shoppers as much as we need eateries.

  15. I think it is obvious something needs to be done to protect our downtown retailers. The city council and mayor have taken measures to help restaurants but the core of the downtown is made up of small businesses that are continuing to struggle. Eliminating parking on Saturdays and Sundays certainly won’t help them recover. I support the alternative of closing streets after 5:00 and on Sundays only. Give the retailers a break too!

    1. Pam, if you close the street at 5:00 they have to close the streets at 2:00 to remove the cars. Please e mail the mayor as it his idea and he controls what happens

  16. Hey Edmonds,
    We have a great town! Lots of people come to our downtown to experience what many of us may take for granted.

    Having been down at the fountain today to support the SOS effort, I spoke with many people who agreed that we need to support all the businesses. Our small businesses are still dealing with the ramifications of the COIVD shut down. We are still not back to pre-COVID foot traffic or sales.

    Last year’s WMS was not conducted in a typical year of anything. It happened because we were in lock down for so long and it was an opportunity to safely gather as community. For me it was nice to be downtown after so many months away.

    I don’t understand why the city seems resistant to testing out a Sunday only WMS this year. It would test the concept in an incremental way with less risk to businesses who depend on big Saturday sales and the city could gather objective data about the closure and then have actual data to use to make future decisions.

    Saying something is a success without hard data isn’t an accurate way to measure it. Our downtown merchants need a win this year after last year’s lockdown. Please, reach out to the Mayor and Council to share your thoughts about this with them.

  17. I understand that ALL Businesses should be accessible to everyone and always support the DT Businesses however, I really appreciated Main Street being closed on Saturday’s last year mostly because of the Market. It is a dangerous nightmare to be anywhere along Main between 4th and 6th on Saturday afternoons with the street open. Too many pedestrians vs. too many cars. I have almost been hit twice and saved several people from being hit especially at 5th and Main. I do not want to start a debate or an argument here. I am only presenting another point of view. I do not understand how these shops are losing business from this. It seems like since there are more people walking around that area with no traffic that business would be up. I also see several businesses here that are not on Main Street so how would traffic on Main St. impact them? With Main St. closed wouldn’t traffic be diverted around other streets where parking could be more available? Sorry, I just realized how foolish that last sentence was; to get ANYWHERE close to downtown on a Saturday afternoon in the summer you have to be there at 8:00 AM, otherwise the closest parking is on Dayton or Bell or even Walnut sometimes.

  18. I owned a business downtown for years. Many times different events were tried but many did not help business on Saturdays. Sunday’s many stores are closed so they were not opposed to that. I can name several past events.. Downtown Edmonds businesses need their Saturdays. I said this at the beginning when Rick Steves wanted it. Did anyone ask the businesses? Sunday’s would help the restaurants. I realize the cost they spent on building these structures. They need to contact Gov Inslee on that.

  19. Reasonable and smart idea. I am definitely a fan of this. What a great way to support all of our businesses by limiting WMS to Sundays.

    We were talking about the controversy around WMS to our family in Lynnwood today and said that they likely will limit it to Sundays. Of all the solutions that have been thrown around, it is the most straight forward, and makes the most sense.

  20. It’s true, the initial investment for a parking facility would be significant. That’s why it was unfortunate that when we had the chance to investigate that option re: the new downtown park, it was not taken seriously. The city had/has the land.
    The design proposals for the 4th Ave Arts Corridor are impressive. More galleries and shops will attract a lot of people, but where will they park?
    We need vision that encompasses all aspects of a project.
    We need innovative city planning to explore options.
    To accommodate those needing accessibility within a block or two, what about designated close-in parking spaces? What about a ‘landscaped’ parking facility placed within a berm?
    What about combining a parking facility with retail and/or city services?
    Yes, there is the initial expense. But the ROI could entail more than just a convenient, stress-free parking experience.
    I realize this thread is part of the SOS issue, which I support. But access (parking) is a central factor. People love our downtown and we keep
    adding more attractions expecting parking to work itself out.
    The Bowl was negatively impacted before the advent of Covid and Walkable Weekends. You’ll see it again when the year-round events, festivals and celebrations return.

  21. Walkable Main Street” on Sundays should have been the program in the first place.

    Without having to park blocks away on the biggest shopping and most fun day of the week (think summer market) the residents of Edmonds and visitors can once again support our small businesses and enjoy the vibe of a healthy, bustling and vibrant town.

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