To the Editor:
In response to the story recently written about downtown retail (“Shop vacancies reflect careful growth,” 10/9), I think it’s important to point out that consistent and convenient evening hours are essential to making our downtown retail continue to prosper. With more two-career families and young professionals living and working downtown, the notion that stores can compete with other retail venues without providing the convenience of evening hours is outdated.
We have discussed hours of operation in focus groups for University Properties. Participants often comment that it’s frustrating to have different hours for stores on the same block and that they have difficulty shopping downtown as many of the stores close before they get off work.
In addition, it’s not feasible for University Properties to require only one or two stores on a block to stay open as tenants insist that all others do so as well or they will not. Now that downtown New Haven is lively once again and particularly in the evening, retailers must change with the times to capitalize on this market.
There are several stores along Chapel Street that have recognized this change and have extended their hours on their own. University Properties’ stance that shops in the Broadway District have consistent evening hours until 9 p.m. serves not only safety needs, but also shoppers, and is a course that seems to be spreading among the downtown merchant community.
Shana N. Schneider
Schneider is the Director of Communications and Economic Development in the Office of New Haven & State Affairs