ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The Christmas Traditions Festival is a celebration that business owners on Main Street in St. Charles rely on to stay afloat, especially coming out of the pandemic. But, they worry barriers will block the shoppers they need this season.
“The question is do we have a shopping and dining district or do we have a street party district?” said Robert Schuette, owner of First Capitol Trading Collectibles and Gifts.
Business owners on Main Street were notified on Nov. 2 that the St. Charles Fire chief approved a city ordinance to block off the strip from parking on weekends during the Christmas Traditions Festival for public safety reasons … but they say, blocking vehicles also block sales.
The shops that are on this street need access to the customers to survive,” Schuette said. “It’s the busiest shopping season of the year. It’s four or five weekends that make or break your business.”
Owner of Laulie Cakes, Laura Andert, says her sales are already down 79 percent compared to last year on Christmas Traditions opening day, and when customers found out about the parking situation, it was bad for business.
“We told them the street was closed and we would have to find another way. We could meet them somewhere, and every single one of them canceled because they didn’t want to deal with trying to get through traffic to get product from us,” Andert said.
Schuette said he always will welcome shoppers, but this historic district is just too small with limited parking and vehicle access to accommodate the crowds this time of the year brings.
“It’s kind of grown beyond the limits of the street, unfortunately,” he said.