The summer heat is slowly starting to cool down, and the cooler temperatures are bringing people back to the desert
Some claim Labor Day weekend is the unofficial start of “the season” — when business and tourism picks back up in the desert.
Stores closed for the summer are starting to reopen their doors.
Some business owners said last year was one of the quietest ever at the cash register.
But El Paseo is the place to shop in Palm Desert, and businesses said they are cautiously optimistic that this year will be a profitable one.
“Was it tougher than I expected? Absolutely,” said Steve Hurley, who has been visiting the Coachella Valley for years.
Hurley moved to the Southland from Washington permanently in June, and opened his furniture business Desert Home Collection.
However, the problem is he had never been in the desert during the summer.
“So, I physically couldn’t realize that was the pattern,” he said.
When it hits 100 degrees — people leave.
Needless to say, he said business the past two months crawled at a snails pace.
Co-owner of Caf des Beaux-Arts, Christina Bloch, has managed her store restaurant along El Paseo for 18 years.
“We close every year on the Fourth of July weekend and then we reopen again Labor Day weekend,” she said.
The caf celebrated its grand reopening Friday.
The misters were back on, the dining area was packed, and so was the new bar.
The restaurant is introducing a new small bites menu to help attract the locals and snow birds returning to the desert.
“You always have to reanalyze the business and remain competitive,” said Bloch.
The official start of “the season” as it’s called is up for debate.
“I get, ‘well, it’s the middle end of September’ and then a lot of people say that its October,” said Hurley.
Several store fronts along El Paseo are still closed or vacant.
Chapmans Menswear closes every July. But this year it was closed for August as well. It reopened this month.
D’Marco is reopening Sept. 20.
The Firecliff restaurant will open back up Oct. 29.
Just around the corner, LG’s Steakhouse will start grilling again Oct. 1.
“(The desert is) one of the few places you could go to and go away for the summer and spend time with your children when they’re also on vacation,” said Bloch.
But businesses are looking forward to getting back to work and racking in sales — especially those that remained open during the summer.
“I am seeing more traffic,” said Hurley. “Both in cars just on the avenue and I’m seeing a lot more bodies — a lot more people.”
The new Apple store celebrated its grand opening less than two weeks ago. Its one of many new stores in the new El Paseo Village.