KTVU did a piece on the effect the Castro Streetscape construction is having on businesses in the neighborhood and the news isn't good. With construction squeezing the sidewalks to 4 feet across up and down Castro Street, businesses are feeling the squeeze on their revenues. People are avoiding spending time and money in the Castro and this includes tourists.
The new greek food restaurant Gyro Xpress that opened at 18th and Castro has seen a 60% dip in sales since the construction on the sidewalks started and owner Koch Salgut is worried that he might have to close the restaurants doors until construction is finished. Cliff's Variety Store owner Martha Asten told KTVU that sales were down about 4 percent and that delivery trucks were having a difficult time unloading deliveries.
This isn't a big surprise and I think anyone could have guessed that there would be a negative impact on local businesses during the construction. KTVU reported that one business owner has decided to close up shop entirely and go on vacation until the construction is completed.
I think it would be great if we (you, me, and other readers) could all get together once a week (at least) and choose a local business to patronize during the construction. I run this blog in my spare time and am not the best organizer, but I think with some help from readers we could create a sort of "Castro Cash Mob" that could select a business that needs the help and all head there at a certain time (perhaps even throughout the day) on a certain day of the week and spend some cash. It might be difficult to choose which businesses to start with, but Gyro Xpress seems like as good as any. Focusing on restaurants in the evening for dinner and then making a commitment to browse other stores after dinner might be a good strategy.
Perhaps we can set a tentative date for next Thursday at 6:30PM at Gyro Xpress to start the Castro Cash Mob?
Things to consider:
- Letting the business know ahead of time so they would be ready for an influx of people.
- How do we select a business?
- What day and time is best for everyone? After work?
- Is the restaurant focused strategy the best?
We can spend a month in committee over this, but we should be quick and decisive about our plan. Based on your feedback let's put something together quickly. Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments and lets get started!