An upcoming shopping event in downtown Royal Oak promises to attract shoppers with three days of free City Garage parking, discounts, street performers and other attractions.
The Shop Royal Weekend runs from Friday 7th October to Sunday 9th October and is sponsored by the city’s Downtown Development Authority.
About half of the more than 30 retailers in the county have already signed up to participate in the weekend activities with at least a 10 percent discount.
DDA Manager Daniel Hill is currently meeting with retailers to line up those who will have street sales.
“The trick to getting the discounts is to come to the event and get the exclusively designed tote bag,” he said. “We will also be announcing some additional giveaways.”
Approximately 5,000 of downtown’s colorful shopping bags will be distributed by DDA volunteers at The Fern tea room on Fourth Street and other locations near Center Street or the closed portion of Fifth Street near Washington Avenue.
These locations and a list of retailers participating in the event will be posted on the downtown website at in the coming days downtownroyaloak.org.
The DDA is sponsoring the event with about $30,000 in funds to attract shoppers to downtown retailers, city documents show.
Outside of Small Business Saturday, Hill said he wasn’t aware the DDA had ever promoted a similar event for retailers in recent years.
“Royal Oak is a gift-giving destination,” he said, adding that all retailers are within seven minutes or less of any of the four downtown parking garages.
Like discounts and special offers during Royal Oak Restaurant Week, the shopping weekend will bring similar customer pulls to encourage retail outlets in the CBD.
Dave Brown of Paper Trial Books, 414 S. Washington Ave., is one of the retailers who have already signed up for the upcoming weekend of shopping.
“If it gets people downtown and in the stores, I’m all for it,” said Brown, who opened the independent bookstore five years ago with his brother Scott.
The DDA is also responsible for Downtown Dollars’ regular e-gift card program, which offers shoppers discounts of up to $20 at participating stores.
“These Downtown Dollars are great,” Brown said, adding that he favors any event that draws customers. “We’re doing pretty well and people are still discovering our store.”
But many businesses across the country have yet to see their customer numbers return to levels they had before the pandemic and since last year’s inflation.
Hill and his colleagues in other inner cities are seeing similar effects on the ground.
“A lot of what we’re hearing from businesses is that people are still reluctant to visit stores and buy retail goods,” he said.
As well as the discounts, Shop Royal Weekend aims to help boost visits to local retailers and provide a festive atmosphere complete with street performers, singers and buskers.
“This is an attempt by the DDA to boost retail and reach people who haven’t been to Royal Oak in a while,” Hill said.
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