Not the Quinciniera store…
Tim O’Connor, one of the owners of Downtown Santa Ana’s Chapter One: the Modern Local restaurant, recently opined at a Santa Ana City Council meeting that there are too many quinciniera shops in the area. Here is how he was quoted in the pages of the OC Weekly:
“This is specifically for most of the stuff on Fourth Street,” O’Conner remarked, even though he was addressing the City Council and not a Chamber of Commerce meeting. “You can’t have the same shop, the same stores, the same exact same quinceanera shop across from the exact same quinceañera shop…exact same thing over and over again and expect to be successful. Times have changed. Fourth Street should change with those times.”
I visited Downtown Santa Ana’s monthly Art Walk last night – and stumbled across both a new dress shop – that, you guessed it, did indeed offer quinciniera dresses – and a new costume store called OUTrageous Costumes and Couture, owned by Archer Alstaetter, the promoter of Santa Ana’s East End, which used to be called the Fiesta Marketplace. How do you think the two shops compared? The answer may not be what O’Conner would expect!
I first stopped in at Elegante Formals, on 312 1.2 W. 4th St. It is located west of Broadway. As you can see in the picture above, the owner, Irma Martinez, took a lot of care in merchandising the front window display.
Here is how Archer’s store front appeared:
And here is his store sign:
Now, to be fair we must keep in mind that both of these ventures are brand new, and Archer has been working overtime booking musical acts and doing the marketing for the East End. But obviously the dress store is a lot more…finished.
Let’s take a look at, for example, how there stores display their merchandise. Here’s Archer’s store:
And here is Irma’s store:
Irma also offered a tasty array of fancy sweets for her guests:
The haters malign Mexican Americans who dare open businesses in Downtown Santa Ana. Then they tax these brave souls, via the PBID, and give that money to the well-heeled gabachos so they can promote their bars and restaurants. Is that fair? Or should the PBID be voluntary, especially given the way former Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream rigged the PBID vote?
Here’s Irma and her aunt, who owns a wedding shop in Downtown Santa Ana. They will be paying into the PBID, but will they get anything out of it?
And here is Archer, the PBID’s promoter – yes, he has a lot to smile about, doesn’t he?
How will these two new downtown Santa Ana businesses fare? That is hard to say. Archer should do well this month with folks looking for Halloween costumes. He explained to me that he has had businesses before – and you have to wonder if the landlord, Irv Chase, is charging Archer any rent.
Irma is new to business but she is a creative wonder – and she has her aunt’s steady hand to guide her. I would not bet against her! What O’Connor doesn’t seem to comprehend is that these businesses thrive in downtown Santa Ana because that is what the customers want.
I visited Chapter One, by the way, when Councilwoman Michele Martinez held her first Assembly campaign fundraiser there. The appetizers were pretty good, particularly since there were a few that were vegetarian. Not sure I will go there to have dinner as I cook most of the food my family eats. And given O’Connor’s attitude towards Latino businesses, I don’t think I want to spend any money there.
By the way, I have nothing against Archer or the PBID – but I do think that the only fair thing to do would be to put the PBID to a new, fair vote. Until we do that the questions will remain and there will be no justice.