Batten down the hatches or open the floodgates? Businesses located on Third Street near the Napa Valley Expo are adopting a variety of strategies for dealing with the hordes of people expected to descend on their neighborhood during BottleRock Napa Valley.
Ron Kane’s motorcycle shop, Napa Valley Classics, sits squarely in the music festival's crosshairs at Third Street and Soscol Avenue, the main drop-off point for buses bringing BottleRock revelers to the Expo.
When he realized the scope of the five-day festival, “I thought ‘What am I going to do?’” said Kane. Afraid that he’ll be inundated by crowds, Kane came up with a two-part plan.
First, he’ll shut the front doors of his business and be open by appointment only for his regular customers.
Second, he’ll open his side door on Soscol and set up a cabinet selling Harley Davidson T-shirts, hats and sunglasses.
“At the very least I can sell some sundry items,” he said. “I expect I might be able to make a little money.”
Because parking for business owners will be at a premium during BottleRock, he’ll likely ride his motorcycle to work during the festival and park it inside the shop.
“I’m really hoping it goes over well,” Kane said he travels frequently outside of the North Bay to see other bands perform, “I’m happy to see some of this coming to Napa.”
For Ray Dahlgren, owner of an adjacent business, the Loose Caboose hobby shop, “I am going to treat it as if it were a regular weekend.”
With masses of people being deposited at his front doorstep, “it’s a chance for some new faces” to discover his store, he said.
Fearing a parking problem for his customers, Dahlgren already has signage that designates Loose Caboose customer parking. “I may make them bigger,” Dahlgren said. “I may put some signs on the front door, ‘restrooms for customers only.’”
Overall, Dahlgren supports the festival. “A lot of people are getting a little too worked up,” he said. “We’re just going to go for it” and hope for the best, he said.
Pete Peralta, owner of Third Street Auto Repair, next to the Expo, said he will be open Monday through Wednesday, but closed Thursday through Sunday. BottleRock organizers offered Peralta $5,000 to rent 24 spaces in his parking lot for four days and five nights, and he accepted.
“Why not?” said Peralta. Between the street closures and crowds, “I’m not going to be able to function anyway.” By accepting the offer, “at least I know I’m guaranteed something for that week,” he said.
“I’m OK with the whole ordeal,” Peralta said. “I’m getting a new sidewalk in front of my place. I’m getting a bit of money. It’s a nuisance to a degree, but look what it’s doing to the economy. All the hotel are full. Who’s going to complain about that?”
Kris Roberts said his business, Harbison Appliance, is usually open on Saturdays but will be closed this weekend. He doesn’t think customers will want to brave traffic bottlenecks around the Expo, he said.
Wednesday through Friday, “We will be open and trying to do business as normal,” Roberts said. “If customers call, we can give them a heads-up,” about what to expect.
Expecting a decline in sales, “I’ve written a letter to BottleRock promoters asking for them to take that into consideration and could they help compensate us for the loss of business,” Roberts said. “I haven’t heard anything back from them yet.”
BottleRock organizers were considering renting his parking lot for the weekend, he said last week.
Roberts said he’s not setting up any extra security for the festival. “BottleRock has assured me they will have people posted all throughout the area and in front of our store. I’m not really concerned about that,” he said.
David Reynoso, owner of Taqueria Maria on Third, said he’s not sure what to expect during the festival, but he plans on serving between 250 and 300 people a day. Normally, he’d serve closer to 200, he said.
Taqueria Maria has a parking lot in the back where both his customers and employees can park, Reynoso said.
Jerovi Sanson, owner of Villa Iris Jewelry store on Third Street, said he plans to work normal store hours, but would consider opening his store on Sunday.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect my life much,” Sanson said of BottleRock.
His established customers know how to find him, he said. “I’m not going to rely on walk-by” shoppers during BottleRock. If festivalgoers try to park in his lot, “I would have them towed out,” he said.
Customers already have to be buzzed into his store, he said, so he’s not worried about being inundated by browsers or rowdy shoppers.
“I think it’s going to be a nice event for Napa. Any draw to the Napa Valley is going to be beneficial to everybody,” Sanson said.
Located on the grounds of the Expo, Napa Fermentation Supplies finds itself embedded with BottleRock. “We haven’t entirely decided if we will be open yet,” said Ben Jaynes, sales manager.
Jaynes said the store has an arrangement with BottleRock to accommodate customers, and any shoppers should call the store before visiting for that information.
While the festival will likely cost him business, Jaynes said organizers have not offered to compensate them for lost business.
This isn’t the first event to impact the business. Sales also drop during the Town & Country Fair in August and Home and Garden Show in May. “That’s how it goes,” Jaynes said.
Jaynes said he is not attending BottleRock. Instead, “I will be listening from the store.”
Kim Pascu, administrative bail agent at Aladdin Bail Bonds on Third Street said BottleRock probably won’t interfere with the business.
“We might be really busy or we might not,” she said. “We’re always open.”
The biggest impact will be parking for customers and employees, she said.
“We’re not sure what to tell them. Park where you can.”