Utility work on Cedar Springs not expected to hurt business

CSMA announces schedule of fall events, including annual Christmas tree lighting in December

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STRONG SALES | Matthew Evans, the newest employee at Union Jack on Cedar Springs Road, saw his busiest day at the store during Pride weekend. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Utility work is scheduled to begin on Cedar Springs Road on Monday, Sept. 26, but should create minimal interruption to business on the street, business owners said this week.

When Atmos Energy first announced the work, all parking on the street was going to be affected for about two weeks. The original start date would have had the street torn up during the Pride parade.

After City Councilwoman Angela Hunt intervened, the work was postponed until after Pride, and the company agreed to do one section at a time.

Cedar Springs Merchants Association President Scott Whittall said this week that he doesn’t expect the work to interfere with business. Only a few parking spaces at a time should be disrupted, he said.

“They’re checking connections, not doing repairs,” he said, adding that it will be a “dig, check, fill back in” situation.

Work will begin on the Oak Lawn Avenue end of the street and proceed toward Douglas Avenue. All construction should be completed in time for fall events planned for the street.

Merchants this week reported strong business during Pride weekend, and they said they are looking for fall events to continue boosting sales.

Whittall.Scott
CSMA President Scott Whittall

“We really had a good weekend,” said Macho Nacho Assistant General Manager Brandi Knutzen. “We had fun and saw a lot of new faces.”

She said it was their biggest weekend since the restaurant opened in April, and she hopes many of the people who came in for the first time during Pride will return.

OutLines Manager David Lester said that business in his shop is up over last year. He said that in addition to events the Cedar Springs Merchants Association has planned, his store will decorate for Texas-OU weekend and will do a tent sale once a month.

“Overall, business is good,” he said.

Union Jack Manager Kim Johnson reported a similar boost in business over the Pride weekend. “It was one of the best we’ve had in a long time.”

Matthew Evans, the store’s newest employee, said it was the busiest weekend he’s seen.

Johnson said that rather than special promotions, he’s relying on new lines of jackets, shoes, accessories and “the works” that are scheduled to arrive for the fall.

One that hit the store recently is a line of Pan Am logo wallets, bags and related merchandise. The items are tied to the premiere of a new TV show about the airline set in the 1960s, and Johnson said sales of those items are especially strong.

Johnson also suggested that new stores opening on the street will help keep shoppers on Cedar Springs.

A hair care supply store is set to open in the old Shades of Gray space behind Hunky’s. And across from there, construction is close to complete on the new Thai-rrific restaurant that should open in October.

However, a coffee shop that had begun construction in the space between Thai-rrific and Macho Nacho abandoned its lease because of permit issues related to parking.

Events drive traffic to the gay strip, and CSMA announced a fall schedule of events through Christmas.

On Oct. 29, Cedar Springs Road will be closed to traffic for the annual Halloween street party, which, Whittall said, is traditionally one of the biggest times for sales along the street.

He said the best time to shop is after the street closes around 4 p.m.

The next sidewalk sale and mini art show is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, with artists  showing their work along the strip in conjunction with sales by many of the merchants. A lineup of local vendors in booths is planned as well.

DFW Rescue will be there looking for new homes for pets. Music on the street will add to the day’s festivities.

“That event kicks off the Christmas season on Cedar Springs,” Whittall said.

Two events are scheduled for the first week in December.

On Dec. 2, a holiday dinner theater at the Rose Room will benefit the Cedar Springs Beautification Project. Whittall said the lineup should be announced soon.

On Dec. 7, the DFW Sisters will light the Christmas tree on the patio of TMC: The Mining Company at 7 p.m. Whittall said they plan to have a bigger tree this year. And he hoped to have an announcement soon about additional lighting.

The Oak Lawn Band is slated to perform. The lighting will be followed by a cider and wine stroll. Sexy Santa will be on the street handing out gifts and carolers will perform.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Scenes from First Wednesday

The DFW Sisters light the Christmas Tree on the patio of TMC.

There was plenty going on last night, from a World AIDS Day event at the Cathedral of Hope to the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Mixer at Maggiano’s. But @GetRichInDallas and I stayed true to our roots — and his wine addiction — as we hit up the strip for First Wednesday and the Christmas Tree Lighting. It was, quite frankly, a sparsely attended event, and the “Sexy Santa” wasn’t quite what we expected. But the wine — well, the chardonnay at least – flowed freely from upstairs at Union Jack, as the likes of the Oak Lawn Band and Mel Arizpe performed on the TMC patio. In short, a good time was had by all, especially those who like wine and cookies. A few more pics below.

—  John Wright

Recycled Pic of the Day: First Wednesday on Cedar Springs to mark 3rd anniversary this week

If we’re not mistaken, and it seems we rarely are, Wednesday marks the third anniversary of, well, First Wednesday on the Cedar Springs strip. And this year it looks like they’ll have slightly milder temps for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting on the TMC patio. (Two years ago we recall Miss Oak Lawn requesting that the lighting ceremony be moved up so she didn’t get frostbite.) Also this year, the below flier is advertising a “sexy Santa Claus,” so we’ll be interested to what that’s all about, though we doubt it can get much sexier than the scene above from 2008, which along with the bad economy prompted Instant Tea to famously ask, “Why is Santa’s sack so light?”

—  John Wright

Lone Star Riders will put on their own Parade of Lights between Hurst and Fort Worth on Friday

Fort Worth’s Parade of Lights and Christmas Tree Lighting are the Friday after Thanksgiving (which the folks and I learned the hard way when we tried to hit Cowtown for dinner last year). And now that I think about it, it would have been much, much easier to get to Sundance Square on a bicycle — which is just what some pedalers from the Lone Star Ride intend to do. According to the below e-mail, the riders will light their bikes and decorate their bodies for a 20-mile jaunt from Hurst to downtown. In case you’re wondering, the forecast calls for a high of 52, but maybe the lights will keep them warm. Here’s the info:

Let’s go for a ride to the Fort Worth Parade of Lights!

When – Friday, Nov 26, 2:30pm – until you want to go home

Where – Start from Hurst/Bell Trinity Railway Express Station or NRH TRE station or anywhere on route

Details – Light your bike, decorate your body and let’s ride and have some fun!  We’ll ride to Fort Worth via Trinity Blvd, Randol Mill and Trinity Trail ( about 20 miles?) to watch the Parade of Lights and lighting of Fort Worth’s Christmas tree. You can ride out and ride back to Hurst, you can take the TRE back to Hurst ( if you leave by 9:40pm) you can invite family and friends to meet you in Fort Worth and bum a ride home, or there may be a  possibility of taking the bus ( The Green Weenie II ) back to Hurst. After the parade we can find food and drinks before we head home – your return plans will dictate how much time you have to party before you start back. Bring lights, lock, camera, cash, warm clothes, walkable footwear.

For more info, call Ray Allen at 817-300-8580 or e-mail Mrayallen@aol.com.

—  John Wright