The close of the Sweet Sounds of Summer Jazz Series has downtown businesses looking back at the benefits the Tuesday night concerts brought to downtown.
Businesses which stayed open late during the concert series have been reporting higher customer turnouts. Downtown Westfield Corporation Director Sherry Cronin, who organized the series, said mainly restaurants have stayed open late with several stores jumping on the bandwagon. Stores which have stayed open for the concerts include Sole, Ann Taylor and Douglas Cosmetics.
"We’ve been encouraging retailers to stay open but it is difficult to justify for some of them given the fact that Thursdays is a late shopping evening," Cronin said. "We purposely host jazz on Tuesdays with a rain date on Wednesdays to provide people for a reason to come back to downtown on a night that they may not otherwise."
Cronin said the restaurants which have remained open have compared business to a Friday or Saturday night. Many of the restaurants on Elm Street, within listening distance to one of the concerts, have been jammed with outdoor diners on jazz nights. Cronin said Jeffrey's management has told her the extra revenue from jazz nights has helped fund a new air conditioning system.
Anna Mastroianni, the owner of Sole on East Broad and Elm Streets, has turned the jazz nights into an open party in her store. She has kept the doors open to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays this summer because of the concert crowd. Some of the customers are window shopping, while others have walked away with new shoes on Tuesday nights. Mastroianni has been serving Italian chocolates and Italian sparkling wine during the jazz concerts in order to bring customers into her store.
"It's a party that everyone is invited to," she said of the store's jazz concert atmosphere.
Ann Taylor on East Broad Street has been staying open late based on customer demand during the jazz concerts. Monika Gerhauser, the store manager, said there has been a jump in customers on Tuesdays this summer, including window shoppers.
"It's good for Westfield," Gerhauser said of the concerts. "It generates a high volume of people."