Twinkle Light parade move upsets Old Town shop owners

Posted at: 12/02/2012 8:58 PM
Updated at: 12/02/2012 10:20 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Everything came together perfectly for Saturday’s Twinkle Light Parade in Nob Hill: The weather, the crowds and the business. But not everyone’s happy.

The parade had long taken part in Old Town. Some merchants were frustrated earlier this year when they heard the parade was moving to Nob Hill. They worried their Christmas sales would be impacted.

The holiday shopping season is off to a good start in Nob Hill.

Businesses like The A Store got a big boost Saturday night.

"The amount of sales compared to the amount of traffic was absolutely great. Better than we expected," said sales associate Antal Maurer.

It wasn’t just Nob Hill’s annual “Shop & Stroll” event that brought customers in. It was the sound of the holidays just outside their door. Thousands of spectators lined Central Avenue for the Twinkle Light Parade.

This year, the procession moved from Old Town, its home for the past 12 years, to Nob Hill.

The city said it has been trying to get events into different business area of the city.

"I think the parade was also good because it brought so many families in and so it was just a really good crowd," said Maurer.

While Nob Hill tried to keep up with the crowd, some businesses in Old Town sure felt the parade’s absence.

"It was very slow. It didn't pick up until later on," said restaurant worker Adella Avila.

The Twinkle Light Parade usually fires up sales at the Casa de Fiesta Mexican Grill in Old Town, but there wasn’t much of a party this year.

"[The parade] was always here in Old Town to begin with, why are they going to move it? They should just have it here," said Avila.

Other Old Town businesses like the Plaza Indian Trading Post didn’t expect more people either way.

"Christmas isn't the busiest time of the year. Certainly summer is and the Balloon Fiesta is really an influx of people," said Tito Chavez of the Plaza Indian Trading Post.

Back in Nob Hill, newer places like Sukhmani or Perfect bliss are just happy with the added exposure.

“Definitely best night of the year as far as people walking into the store traffic-wise, absolutely, but not necessarily sales-wise," said owner, Sat Gurumekh.

Whether the parade will stay in Nob Hill isn’t known yet.

Either way, city officials say they work on dozens of events in Old Town every year.