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Are Palatine's Downtown Festivals Good For Business?

Downtown business owners offer perspectives on the village festivals' impact on business in the area.

As one business owner prepares to open in downtown Palatine, another business is moving out.

After nearly a decade in business on Slade Street, the owner of Vilma Lee-Heinzinger said she loves her bead and jewelry boutique, but she has to get out of downtown Palatine.

The business will close its Slade Street location Sept. 15 and reopen Oct. 1 near the intersection of Palatine Road and Northwest Highway.

Lee Heinzinger said she decided to leave her job in corporate America to open Facets of Isis after falling in love with Palatine's charm.

“I wasn’t looking to open up a store,” Lee-Heinzinger said. “I just thought downtown Palatine was so cute, but it’s changed.”

Just down the street, Mac Ritz is prepping to open later this month. Ritz wants to be up and running in time for the Downtown Palatine Street Fest Aug. 24-26. 

“It’d be great for us to be open — at least people would know where we are," said Ritz, adding the festival is free advertising.

Lee-Heinzinger disagreed. “It brings in traffic but not business," she said.

Ritz acknowledged the festivals will give him advertising at first but could become competition for the restaurant. The Palatine Oktoberfest Celebration  will take place Sept. 14-16, three weeks after Mac's on Slade's opening. 

The approved the Rotary Club of Palatine’s request to move the beer tent to the intersection of Slade and Brockway — across the street from Mac's and Facets of Isis.

The new location will allow more room for the beer tent.

“The concern is that the beer tent will be bigger, and the places that serve alcohol could lose sales,” Ritz said.

As a new business owner, Ritz said he doesn’t know how the downtown summer festivals will impact his bar. He said he is just excited to have potential customers in the area.

Boutique owner Lee-Heinzinger doesn't need to be concerned about the competition for sales.

Still, she said each year the downtown festivals cost her business and chase away her customers. Whenever there is a beer tent nearby, she said, it causes trouble for her store.

“Right out in front of the store people drink”, Lee-Heinzinger said. “And sometimes they’re actually rude to customers trying to come in here and shop.”

Facets of Isis will close its Slade Street location as Oktoberfest is taking place.

"I wish I was going sooner," she said. "But I'm just glad I won't be here for Oktoberfest."

cheryl August 15, 2012 at 01:49 PM
this is ridiculous! i was just at the taste of arlington heights and all the businesses were participating and doing great business. i kept saying i wish palatines fest was more setup like this. i have been in the jewelry store and there are too many rules. you should have something setup for kids that night so they can make a little bobble or something.dont be hung up on age. i wanted to do a kids party and my kids werent old enough. in this economy you have to cater to all age groups. i think youll be disappointed moving to northwest highway where people arent walking around.
M C August 15, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I think there is an important piece of information being left out in this article. The intersection of Brockway and Slade will be closed for 2 1/2 days. In other words, THE main intersection to downtown Palatine will be closed! That sounds like a REALLY intelligtent decision. This is 2 weeks after being closed 3 days for StreetFest. I mean really, the business owners in downtown Palatine just weathered a 2 year access fiasco with the Palatine Road construction project. Many of them do not only need foot traffic, they need accessability for customer who come from all over the region by automobile. Maybe we should just turn the whole downtown area into a street mall. No cars ever. Just pedestrians and bicyclists. That will facilitate the rest of the businesses leaving and the Village can continue with their current pet project of turning the entire downtown area into a commuter parking area. Then there would be plenty of space to set up beer tents.
Paul Shafer August 15, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I haven't missed a party since 8th grade. So, yes I will be at both Streetfest and Octoberfest spending money there and at nearby downtown businesses (including Mac's on Slade) throughout both weekends.
Matt Bickel August 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Let's not forget that the Rotary Club of Palatine Oktoberfest is ALL about doing good for our community. They have donated over $100k in proceeds to local charities over the 4 years they have run their festival.
Kelly K August 15, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Maybe if the stuff at Isis wasn't so expensive, more people might be willing to buy stuff there. No offense but I went in there with a friend of mine a couple of years ago and she pointed out a bracelet she really liked. I wanted to get it for her for Christmas but when I went back to inquire about the price I was told it was something over $75! For a bracelet?! I said no thanks and got her something else instead. My point is that stuff there is seriously overpriced and that might be a huge part of the problem.
Shay's Closet will be hosting another sidewalk sale next weekend for the street fest- and offering people who purchase to be able to leave their bag tagged in back for pick up later, so they dont have to carry around the fantastic deal they just scored!!! Shays Closet Retail, Resale and Consignment Shop is located at 21 W Railroad Ave just 150 ft east of where the stage will be!!!!! On Bothwell st n Railroad "See you there"!!!!!!!!
Tom K August 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Paul when you are spending money is that only at the bars or are you shopping at Zimmer Hardware, getting your haircut at the barbershop. How about Foxglove? Are you grabbing dinner at Mexico Uno? The bars benefit. The retail stores DO NOT. And except for Shay's I bet all the critics here posting are not small business owners.
CAK August 16, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Missing two weekends out of the year shouldn't be a big problem for Isis, clearly there are many other issues for her here. Why didn't the author of this article ask all of the businesses on Slade street. Each year at Streetfest I have seen many many people at Monson's Jewelry and people walking in The Music Room. I would imagine if you asked Bauer's Brauhaus how they felt about Oktoberfest this article would clearly have a different spin. I think if you are a merchant and you have something to offer, people will come to your store whether the street is closed or not. Maybe Zimmer, Isis, etc should take a second look at what they really have to offer! Like someone said above regarding Oktoberfest, it's a charity event come on people.
Kerri Callahan August 16, 2012 at 05:34 PM
As one of the small business owners in Downtown Palatine and the President of the Downtown Palatine Business Association, none of our members have ever complained about these street festivals hurting our business. In fact we use them to our benefit, by putting out additional sale inventory, offering specials, or even participating in the festival itself - like the Pet Parade which is put on by the Music Room & Foxglove Cottage. Any event that brings people into downtown is a plus for us - whether it is the Chamber's movie night on Sunday, the car shows every Friday night, Streetfest, Oktoberfest, or even the Association's own Holidays/Girls on the Town - every single one shows the community that the merchants are here to stay and support our community. Anyone interested in the Downtown Palatine Business Association and all of the events coming up this year, should go to www.downtownpalatine.org for more information.
EAB August 17, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Unless you own or have worked for a retail store downtown (I've worked for 2), you really don't know the effects of the fests or (as MC said) the street expansion, the costs involved in running the businesses (and subsequent markup) or how they are doing in this economy. If the downtown area/fests were more about community, as they start/ed out to be, and less about drinking, I would have been cleaning a lot less vomit/pee/cig butts off the sidewalk. Let's face that we get our share of people who can't control themselves and wander around plastered (looking for a nice, clean bathroom to desecrate, btw). That's all Lee Heinzinger is saying. The taverns/fests don't bring her paying foot-traffic (which I have , in fact, also heard from the barber). Good luck to ALL in the upcoming fall and holiday season. Cheers to Ms Heinzinger for her move to be a success and for the right fit to move into that space.
Paul Shafer August 17, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Tom to answer your questions - yes to Zimmer Hardware (have taken out of town visitors there - it is a true Palatine gem), yes to Mexico Uno (been going there since before it moved to its current location). Go to as many downtown businesses as I can - hair salon, dry cleaners, music store, whatever is available to suit my needs. Have been for a couple decades. You see - I live in downtown Palatine. And the local festivals are one of the numerous things that attracted me to the area to purchase property, pay taxes, and shop there year-round. Party On.
Tom Lunde August 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
To Paul Shafer - Party on dude!
know the facts August 19, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Have you ever made a piece of hand-crafted jewelry? There are a multitude of elements to consider. Stringing...consider the gemstones and sterling silver. Have you seen the cost of silver lately? How about beadweaving. Depending upon design, and bead woven bracelet can take upwards of 4-5 hours to make. That's right, 4-5 hours for 1 bracelet. Would you consider $75 at Nordstrom "seriously overpriced"? Or is it the fact that Facets of Isis is a small boutique that you feel she shouldn't charge such prices? Perhaps you should consider what goes into creating a handcrafted piece of jewelry before you go slamming an artist and her craft!!!
HJS August 20, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Really you expect there to be a kids table in a store that small, what so you can leave your kids there while you are at the beer tent? With all the drunk people weaving in and out, shall we talk about the theft? Do you know how much people steal during these festivals/events??? There is money going out not coming in unless you are a bar. Amen to getting out a downtown filled with nothing but bars, dumb people and no parking
My Opinion August 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Quality Costs Money The items at Facets of Isis are one of a kind pieces. Different beads, gemstones, silver etc. make a truly one of a kind piece of art. I look at Macy's, Bloomingdales, etc. and see the jewelry they have at their costume jewelry counters and find that with prices starting $30.00 or more and it's probably made in some sweatshop overseas where the worker is getting pennies to make it; also, most of the time you can't even find out what it's made out of? No thank you! Facets of Isis is a fabulous store that I drive 40 minutes to shop at. I am very happy to follow her to her new location; I'm glad I won't have the drunks leaning against my car when I try to leave.
My Opinion August 20, 2012 at 11:47 PM
As a parent, I know that I need to watch my children and not expect other people to watch them for me or to cater to them. If I was in Disney World etc that would be a different story, but this store is a jewelry store and beading boutique. All of us parents need to think of where we take our children and show some common sense.
jmv August 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Several years ago I started shopping for beads at Facets of Isis and explained to the owner that I make jewelry as fundraising for my breast cancer walks so I need to keep my cost down. Vilma was so helpful and continues to this day to help keep my costs down. She even attended a Zumba fundraiser I had this year, helped spread word around about the fundraiser and donated jewelry for one of the door prizes.. Talk about customer satisfaction! I am looking forward to continuing to shop and visit at her new location.
Margret Amatayakul October 15, 2012 at 10:32 PM
I visited Facets of Isis for the first time a few months ago. Though it was very small, I thought the merchandise was great and reasonably priced for the quality. Because the owner was busy, I sent an email about a specific type of class in which I was interested and she promptly returned with a message she would try to fit it in to the November schedule. I used to live in Palatine and go back every Saturday for a manicure. Between the festivals, the train crossing gates at Palatine Rd. that go down when there is no train, and tiny streets like Slade St., it is a wonder downtown has any shops. I haven't been to the new location for Facets of Isis, but look forward to doing so soon!
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