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Splash House appears to slow influx of customers for some Palm Springs businesses

The first weekend of Splash house wrapped up Sunday, after attracting local residents and out-of-towners to the desert in droves. Hundreds of people came out for the festival, which is hosted at three Palm Springs Hotels: Margaritaville, Renaissance and The Saguaro. After hours performances and dancing were also put on at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

The event also brought in big performances, pool parties and a return of one of the first festivals to the Coachella Valley since the start of the pandemic.

"Saturday night it wasn’t as busy as we thought," said Aaron Raei of family-owned Palm Springs restaurant, La Bonita's.

The responses from business owners in Palm Springs vary over whether they saw an uptick in customers. For Raei, they anticipated much more people. He told News Channel 3 that they ended up over-staffing. Sunday is when they saw a slight boost in business.

"I think because everybody checked out of the hotel room," Raei said.

Not far away from the restaurant, Gloria Khouri wasn't aware of Splash House until she was asked how things went at her shop, CBG Well.

"I experienced a low in the business, sales are not where they were last weekend or the weekend before," Khouri said.

After realizing there was a festival, it all made sense to her.

"I‘m noticing a lot less foot traffic-- people walking by. The question for me is, 'Are they just a different group of tourists in town? Maybe a younger crowd, and not in aches and pains and not looking to have some medicinal aspect be included in their recreation time?" Khouri said.

Friday marked the first day of the festival and continued into Sunday.

"It’s been very good. We have some strong numbers. Some Splash House customers have come in buying swimsuits, buying sunglasses, that kind of thing. We’ve gotten actually a lot of business from bridal parties over the weekend as well. That’s pretty strong for us," manager of the store 'Only in Palm Springs,' Rich Conway said.

The store's clientele is usually made up of families, according to Conway.

Many have expressed relief over the return of events to the Coachella Valley, which usually means more business.

"Well definitely we look forward to any business at all and it has been difficult here," Conway said.

"We were happy it was going to come back. I thought they were going to cancel it, the more people that come the better," Raei said.

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Shelby Nelson


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