I was a business major in college and the first course I took was entitled business and society. It was a required course and one that had to be completed before any other courses in the business program.
The point of the course was that businesses, large and small, are not just responsible to their owners, executives, and workers. While the bottom line is the prime directive, the quest for profits should not obscure the fact that companies exist and interact with the communities they operate in, always locally and sometimes globally.
It was a course that might have altered the Main Street poo-bah’s decision to cancel the annual Trick-or-Treat on Madison Street. It’s one thing to cancel an event that is poorly attended or has otherwise run its course, but to stop an event as popular as this seems shortsighted. And to make that choice just weeks before the event indicates a lack of planning.
To be fair, it is theirs to cancel. They thought of it, they promoted it; they dealt with the good and bad of it every year.
But comments made by several of Main Street’s members in the Oct. 17 Review are not helping Main Street’s cause. President Art Sundry was quoted as saying that “Quite a few retailers and restaurateurs have felt that it has been an out of control candy grab.”
Isn’t that what Halloween is?
In that same article references were made to how the event impacts fourth quarter earnings. People, we’re talking about three hours on a Sunday afternoon, not an entire month. What will these businesses do if we get a major snowstorm prior to Christmas, file for bankruptcy?
Jane Ertle of Team Blonde Jewelry said that “As an event it just wasn’t doing what it needed to do.” Presumably she meant the event was intended to generate sales.
Main Street needs to understand the event has become a part of the culture of Forest Park, and any business would be well served to have such meaningful connections with the community. It’s like my college professor said, not every decision will be measured in dollars and cents.
On that note, some disappointed parents have suggested boycotting the Main Street members who led the charge against trick-or-treat. Let’s not go overboard. They didn’t shoot the Great Pumpkin. They made a decision that needs to be revisited next year.
Apple bobbing and art fairs have a nice, quaint sound to them and will surely keep the kids away, if in fact that is one of the goals. If they want to bring the autumn fun back to town they need to bring back Trick-or-Treat on Madison Street. Tweak it a little if you need to, but bring it back. We can call this year’s decision a mulligan and forget about it.
Main Street has done a lot of good over the years and the businesses and residents of Forest Park are better for it. But for an organization that prides itself on helping store owners generate revenue, crying over $600 lost on last year’s event will get them nowhere. They need to think about the community they do business in and not just the bottom line.