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Updated Jul 5, 2014 - 11:12 am

Prescott merchants complain about arts fair

PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- The city of Prescott is widely known for its arts and crafts scene, walkable downtown and laid-back vibe that attracts tourists from all over the country.

Some local merchants, however, complain that the town's regular vendor displays that converge on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza are "stealing the tourist season" from downtown business storefronts, the Daily Courier reported.

"We think this is a bad business model for the city," Kevin Scheevel of the Prescott Downtown Merchants Association told the Prescott City Council recently.

Scheevel, manager at Christina'z Boutique, complained that the "unregulated transient business" unfairly competes with the permanent downtown merchants.

Sales at many downtown shops fall considerably during the weekends, when the arts and crafts fair takes place on the courthouse square, he said.

"Numerous merchants say they don't even feel they have to be open on the weekends," Scheevel said. "I'm here to appeal to this council, mayor and city. Can't we come up with something?"

Kendall Jaspers, director of the Prescott Downtown Partnership, said the city's central square, along with the arts and crafts fair, is what sets the town apart from others around the state.

"We're the poster child for the downtown, and (PDP's) job is to keep it that way," Jaspers said.

Others, like Prescott Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer David Maurer, noted that the city collects sales tax from the arts and crafts shows, which helps the city overall.

Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said he plans to appoint a panel to look into the issue further and come up with solutions.

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Information from: The Daily Courier, http://www.dcourier.com

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