Lincoln Square Businesses Make the Most of Mayfest

By Laura Pearson | Monday, June 7, 2010

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A sign outside Provenance Food and Wine during Mayfest. Photo: Laura Pearson.

The 11th annual Mayfest took over Lincoln Square this past weekend, and local businesses were ready for the beer-fueled revelry.

?We kept the back door closed, so no one would ask if we had a bathroom,? says Alisa Rosenthal, an employee at Enjoy, An Urban General Store.

As thousands of people gathered in the Square to enjoy German food and beer by the stein, many area stores opted for a similar ?No Public Restroom? policy. ?We didn?t want to argue about the bathroom,? says Richard Sparks, of Provenance Food and Wine. ?After all, there are about 1500 Porta Potties up the street!?

For local businesses, heavy restroom traffic wasn?t the only concern during Mayfest. Some were also on the lookout for theft and vandalism. ?It?s different than other festivals, like Apple Fest, because it’s an excuse to drink outside,? says Lizzy Selzer, an Enjoy employee. ?You have to be a little more alert.?

Provenance owner Tracy Kellner reported ?a little theft? over the weekend and says someone cracked the window of an adjacent store. She says that for the most part, though, Mayfest provided great foot traffic. ?We?ve had a decent weekend of business, with a lot of new people coming in and looking around.?

Although Mayfest doesn?t feature sidewalk sales, as do some other Lincoln Square festivals, Gallimaufry Gallery took advantage of its covered entryway and set up a table outside to sell small items. The store specializes in handmade American crafts (pottery, wind chimes), but for the outdoor table, owner Michael Merkle chose to feature incense, magnets, and bumper stickers. ?People who come to the fest don?t want to spend more dollars than they already are, and they?re not just going to walk by and purchase a piece of pottery? he says.

Maybe that?s why outside, his magnets were selling like hotcakes?or more aptly, like Hofbr?u Beer and brats.

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