Street closures could hurt Small Business Saturday, some owners say

Casper parade street closure controversy
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 11:48 AM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A bit of controversy brewing this week between small business owners and the Casper Police. So what resolution... if any... can be reached by Saturday?

Saturday is the Casper Christmas Parade and tree lighting. And for local businesses, it’s also Small Business Saturday.

Rob Piotter, owner of Galleria of Gifts, stresses the importance of the day. “Well for us personally, it’s vital. It is like lifeblood. It’s the most important day of the year for small businesses in general. It’s why American Express created Small Business Saturday. As for us, it is the day we look forward to, all year long.”

The rub? To prepare for the parade, police will start closing streets along the route at 3 pm. Which has Piotter and other small business owners worried about lost time... and lost money.

Piotter says, “When it was done, I think about five years back or so, they closed them at 3:00. And my business personally lost almost $2,000 due to... when the streets are closed, people aren’t going to shop.”

Though some small business owners along East 2nd Street might not be the happiest in the world, Casper Police say they have their reasons.

“We worry about the safety of our citizens. And that takes time to get all that stuff in place,” says Sgt. Zack Winter.

Twenty-year-veteran Zack Winter is in his first year as the Casper Traffic Sergeant. He believes closing off the parade route at 3 pm is the right decision. “Again, we mitigate and trade off. Like, how much risk is there. How much is going to accommodate the citizens. Their enjoyment. The business owners. We try to accommodate as many people as possible. But we’re not going to be able to accommodate everybody.”

While closing off streets an hour later is a possibility for next year’s parade, it’s going to stay at the posted 3 pm for this year.

Although certain streets may close at 3 pm, there is free parking in the parking garage. And many local businesses we spoke with plan to stay open until 5 pm.