Inside look to how True/False Film Fest affects downtown businesses

As Columbia’s annual True/False Film Fest begins, local businesses downtown await the challenges and benefits that come with it.

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As True/False Film Fest is here, downtown businesses have prepared for the influx of attendees to the annual festival. Events like True/False that bring in people from out of town bring in a lot of potential customers for those businesses in the downtown area.

According to an article from Lewis & Sears visitors to large events like True/False help boost the local economy. This is done by the free marketing and advertising the festival brings simply by taking place in one area of a town.

Joe Chevalier, co-owner of Yellow Dog Bookshop, is excited for True/False this year. The Saturday of the festival is one of the three biggest days of the year for the shop.

“People who are coming for a documentary film festival are also people who like to read so we get a lot of people buying books, whether it's something to read while they’re in line for one of the films or because they just love books and want to pick some up out of here,” Chevalier said. “Also a lot of the festivalgoers are returning visitors, either from Columbia originally or they just come back year after year, and we’ve become a stop for them on their visits.”

Jessica Rose Bruce, manager and nail technician at Varsity Nails finds that during True/False there isn't a huge effect on her business, aside from a small increase in people trying to do walk-ins.

“I will say the one thing that we do notice it affects is our clients’ parking situations,” Bruce said. “We see that consistently the whole week because there are so many parking spots that are blocked off for the True/False film festival, and obviously there are more people downtown so that's the one thing it affects us with. It's just our clients having difficulty finding places to park to get to their appointments.”

As the days to True/False are here, all of downtown endures the pros and cons that come with such a huge event.

Edited by Sophie Stephens | sstephens@themaneater.com

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