Columbia businesses decide to put hold on Rendezvous

Published 8:45 am Monday, July 27, 2015

Organizers of the Rendezvous on the Road Series said the recent heat wave makes staging the downtown monthly series unsuitable for shoppers.

The next Rendezvous on the Road was scheduled for Friday, July 24, but temperatures in the 90s forced organizers to rethink their plans. August’s Rendezvous was also cancelled.

The Polka Dot Tree owner and Rendezvous volunteer Charlotte Hughes said downtown merchants are thinking about going in another direction.

“Merchants got together and decided that because of the heat it is too hot for people to get out and spend any length of time,” Hughes said. “With a 117-degree heat index, this concrete gets hot, so much so that we need to pull back on Rendezvous and come back after the first of the year with maybe something quarterly or something every other month. We have a lot of ideas we want to incorporate into a Main Street event. It’s just going to take some time.”

Hughes said the last Rendezvous on June 26 was a major disappointment.

“There weren’t a handful of cars out there, like two or three,” Hughes said. “It was disappointing. There were a couple of businesses that did well with sales. Wild Blu and Cajun Canvas had good nights.”

Hughes said her shop had good turnout for the Pearls and Girls event in mid-June.

“We had a great response for Pearls and Girls. We want to concentrate a little bit more on doing something quarterly or something before the Washington Parish Fair in October or something in early December. People are concentrating now on going back to school.”

Hughes said her best sales came during the March Rendezvous.

“I would like to say thanks to the people who have supported us,” Hughes said.

Cajun Canvas owner Aundriea Mitchell agreed with Hughes about going in other directions.

“Turnout for Rendezvous hasn’t been good. Support from the community just hasn’t been there,” Mitchell said. “We’re staying late for people to come and shop, but they’re not coming. We’re just not having the turnout. At the last Rendezvous I had about six people come in. It’s usually about 20.”    

Mitchell said merchants can’t make a profit with those kinds of numbers.

“We’re about making money and having something local for people to do. It’s just not cost-effective to do this.

Wild Blu owner Chelbe Crain said the heat at the last Rendezvous was tremendous.

“Even though I had a good turnout, I didn’t have the turnout I had at the previous one,” Crain said. “The sun didn’t go down until around 8 p.m. It was hot. I think it would be best if we all got together and do some special things throughout the year not like Rendezvous.”