As elaborate events unfolded across campus during the inauguration of Yale’s 23rd President this past weekend, local businesses experienced a significant influx of customers.
To mark the inauguration, many New Haven restaurants offered dining deals pegged to the number 23, while retail stores offered 23 percent off discounts between Oct. 11 and 13. Most local business owners, especially those with locations in the Broadway Shopping District, said the high volume of weekend tourists significantly increased foot traffic in their stores.
Some stores, including Tyco and the clothing store Denali, saw so much of an increase that they declined to talk to the News on the grounds that their staff did not have time.
Restaurants and retailers alike found that the event-inspired discounts greatly benefitted their businesses. Ordinary for example, provided customers with a $23 cheese and charcuterie platter, and Miya’s Sushi served up a $23 “President Salovey Sushi Especial,” a dish featuring 10 different sample pieces. Blue State Coffee also offered 23-cent small coffees, and the art supplies and framing store Hull’s offered 23 percent off any single-item purchases.
Thali Too restaurant manager Rattan Kaul said that his restaurant chose to participate in the presidential-themed discount because the restaurant is so visible on Yale’s campus — located in the Broadway Shopping District, nestled between Ezra Stiles College and the Yale Bookstore. Kaul hopes this promotion, like others in the past, will attract returning customers going forward.
“This is a celebration that we wanted to be a part of,” Kaul said. “We and the other participating restaurants under the same ownership are a part of the campus, and a lot of our clients are Yale students.”
When the News spoke with Kaul on Saturday afternoon, he said he had already seen more customers coming through the door compared with typical weekends. Still, he noted that because of the promotion he was forced to increase the number of staffers working the weekend shift.
Restaurants weren’t the only businesses experiencing success this past weekend. The outdoor clothing stores Denali and Trailblazer, sister stores both located in the Broadway Shopping District, saw a much higher volume of customers come through than during typical weekends.
Although some stores did not offer inauguration-themed specials, the uptake in customers drawn to shopping districts benefited their sales, anyway.
Kimberly Pedrick, the owner of the clothing and accessories boutique Idiom on Chapel St., said she saw an increase in foot traffic over the course of the weekend, which added a “positive atmosphere” to the store and a “positive vibe” downtown.
“This time of year we don’t break sale yet, so it didn’t seem imperative to do anything particular,” Pedrick said. “We put up balloons and celebratory decorations, but we didn’t have an actual sale going on. That being said, we definitely noticed an increase in activity, and a lot more people up and about coming into our store.”
While these restaurants and retailers benefited from the Inauguration, some stores, including jewelry shop Alex and Ani and the Boutique Therapy, did not experience as much success.
Despite offering 23 percent off purchases, Therapy Boutique did not see a greater influx of customers during the weekend. Store Manager Richard Lee attributed the store’s location, just off of the Broadway Shopping District on York St., as one of several possible reasons why the store did not benefit from the increase in visitors to the area.
Managers at some stores, including Alex and Ani, a jewelry shop right next to Therapy Boutique on York Street, were unaware that the inauguration was taking place and did not offer sales specific to the event. Employees interviewed at the jewelry shop added that their customers had failed to mention the event was happening.
Thirty-three total businesses participated in the Inauguration-themed specials.