Wine stroll draws hundreds downtown | February 11, 2011 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 11, 2011

Wine stroll draws hundreds downtown

Business owners want more events, more stores to boost economy

by Jeb Bing

Hundreds turned out last Thursday night for the annual wine stroll in downtown Pleasanton, enjoying treats and/or hors d'oeuvres to pair with a large selection of wines and champagne offered at 27 retail and service businesses on Main Street and many of the side streets.

Another two locations -- the Museum On Main and State Farm Insurance on St. Mary Street -- joined in the celebration, serving non-alcoholic beverages.

Called "Truffles, Tidbits & Wine Tasting," the twice-annual event is sponsored by the Pleasanton Downtown Association. Wine strollers received commemorative wine glasses and a map showing the participating downtown locations with the only stipulation that their glasses had to be empty when they moved from one wine-pouring location to the other.

"It was a rousing success," said Alisha Perdue, events and communications coordinator for the PDA. "The weather was perfect and we sold about 700 tickets."

The winter wine stroll, often affected by rain and cold weather, came at the end of a sunny, warm February day this year, adding to the enthusiasm and the numbers of strollers who turned out. A similar event in the summer is often sold out well before the wine stroll takes place.

How do downtown business owners like the wine stroll?

"It's events like these that bring a lot of potential customers to downtown Pleasanton," said Randy Cazinha, owner of Cazinha Portrait Design at 551 Main St., whose studio was packed with strollers all evening. "They're not necessarily going to buy anything now, but they know we're here and when they want a portrait, they come back."

"We've been here for 12 years and we've found it may be months or even a few years before we see them again, but they remember our studio and become our customers," he added. "Pleasanton needs more of these events and it also needs some big-draw stores, such as Crate & Barrel or a hardware store. When Kolln Hardware shut down, that had a big impact on the downtown. Everyone used to come down to the hardware store and we saw these people all over the downtown when they did."

Debbie Lopes, owner of Savvy Seconds at 560 Main St., agreed.

"These events really help promote business downtown," she said as scores of customers looked through her selection of merchandise.

"I always see new faces," she added. "These events drive people downtown. I'll see them tonight and then many of them again later when they come back, remembering our store and what we offer."

As for business, both Lopes and Cazinha said 2010 was a "roller-coaster" year for their operations with some improvement later in the year. January sales were a little better than a year ago and February is starting out stronger.