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Businesses around Fair St. Louis saw mixed results

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The largest event held in Forest Park in more than a century has come to a close.  In terms of traffic, parking, and safety, Fair St. Louis was a big success, but for businesses around the park, success was mixed.

Coffee Cartel Employee Jason Douglas says, “We did think it was going to be more chaotic because of the parking situation and everything, but they handled it and planned pretty well, so people just had to do more walking.”

All the extra foot traffic translated into big business for the Central West End coffee shop.   Douglas explains, “They stopped by with their families and purchased lots of ice cream, lots of coffee drinks and everything, so we had a lot more traffic than usual.”

For the Cheshire Hotel, located near the southwest corner of Forest Park, the fair’s new venue couldn’t have been better.  “The hotel was sold out all weekend long, so it was just a tremendous opportunity for us to be part of the community and be part of the events over at the fair. It was fun,” explains Tom Duca, Vice President of Restaurant Operations at Lodging Hospitality Management.

The Restaurant at the Cheshire had a food booth at the fair, and customers at the Restaurant and Basso were offered complementary Fair St. Louis parking.  Duca adds, “This week at the restaurants, we actually doubled our sales from last year.”

But business wasn’t booming everywhere.  At Sasha’s Wine Bar in DeMun, General Manager Kevin Bilhorn says they didn’t get the huge influx of customers they had hoped for: “It definitely affected business in the in-between times, when you knew the fair was really going on through dinner and things like that. We definitely got really nice pops afterwards, and filled up late night, which is always fun to see on a Friday or Saturday night.”

Other area business owners said the same thing, and felt the road closures were partially to blame.

Despite these complaints, traffic around the fair was mostly smooth.  And for many area residents, the fair in Forest Park was a convenience they’d love to see again. Dogtown resident Peter Wiss says, “I think the city of St. Louis did a great job.  I prefer it here, definitely.”

In terms of next year, it’s likely the Arch grounds will still be under construction, so fair officials hope to hold Fair St. Louis here in Forest Park again.

They’ll make the official announcement sometime within the next few months.

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  • Brian

    This was a complete disaster. I attempted to take my mother and child to this event but it was very unorganized. My mother was recovering from a broken leg and was using a cane. We pulled up to one area and asked is there anyplace I can drop her and my son off so they wouldn’t have to walk. The person said no this is the closest a car could get and it was $30 parking of course. We declined and drove through when we noticed a ton of empty parking spots. I parked and asked the parking lot attendant what we owed them, he said nothing which was very nice. We then started the walk and managed to grab a bike taxi to get her up the hill to the fair. The road he took was not closed off and I could of easily saved the $20 for the short ride and dropped her off. We seen shuttles but every bus driver we asked said no we are not going there and then we seen them pull up when we got up the hill. When we got there I couldn’t find the kid’s area, this would of been fantastic if I didn’t have my child with me and was able to partake in the fun. The drinks and food was expensive as hell so great job St. Louis on draining every cent you could from people. This was an adult event and no one staffed knew what they were doing. We stayed for a whole half an hour and got out of this nightmare. Every person in a cart we asked would not run my mother up the hill to the event saying it was for the bands equipment even though they were just sitting there. St. Louis should be ashamed of themselves and I will never attempt to go to Forrest Park again for the fireworks.

  • Ed Golterman

    For the Cheshire and the other hotels and motels that ‘ring’ Forest Park-13 weeks of MUNY and especially including the 3 holiday weekends would outperform all the drive in/drive out or ‘I’ll skip this one’ festivals now jammed into the Park. Thirteen weeks of MUNY, the greatest outdoor theater in America, shows and concerts would fill more hotel rooms than do the drive-in, drive-out nighttime parties and special events at the Zoo and Museums. A 13 weeks MUNY with free parking draws 800,000 paid. That’s economic impact on property. This is you consistent overnight-stays generator, or will be when it is freed. And to lose 25 beautiful nights at the MUNY in favor of free Shakespeare is ‘nuts’.

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