To the Editor:
The economy has been challenging for us all. This is certainly true for the businesses and employees here on Martha’s Vineyard where the window to make money and survive is short. Many restaurants and their employees make the majority of their money between May and October.
I am fortunate enough to be here for the July 4 week, and I was saddened to see that the economy had taken its toll on the Island also. David Ryan’s has always been an institution on the Island, and it is gone. Martha’s Vineyard Fitness, where I went to work out while I was here, is also gone. I visit the Island often and have come to know many of hardworking people, and it’s sad to see the impact on their business.
With this in mind, I am perplexed by a recent decision made by the Oak Bluff selectmen to once again ban music on the harbor. In this challenging economy, I would think that the selectmen would be working with the local businesses to find ways to encourage tourism.
Having bands play not only helps to support the local musicians who have waited all year and have counted on those bookings, but it helps boost sales of all of the establishments.
I work for a major sales organization, and it is all about incremental sales. If you get a customer to your establishment, you want to encourage them to have another drink, an appetizer, or stay on for lunch while they are there. I frequently meet boat owners who came over for the day to listen to a band and enjoy the harbor. Will they still make the trip for the day? Playing music does encourage people to stay a little longer and spend a little more, which should be the goal. It also adds to the festive environment on the harbor, which benefits all the business in the area.
I can understand the concern over noise, but it appears to me that the restrictions put in place earlier this year would address those concerns. One need only look at the demise at David Ryan’s to realize that location does not guarantee success.
I hope that Mr. Bradford and the selectmen will reconsider before the season is over and the opportunities are missed. I would hate to see any other business not survive the winter.