Local businesses benefit from True/False traffic

Downtown shops offer sales during festival.

Local businesses are looking forward to the increase in traffic that will come with the True/False Film Fest as it returns to Columbia this year.

The festival, which runs from March 5 to 8 this year, tends to attract visitors from outside of Columbia. This usually means that local businesses can expect a boost in sales during this period.

“We will certainly see an increase in traffic and sales over the course of the entire event … maybe 10 percent,” says Corissa Ray, a partner at Bluestem Missouri Crafts, a True/False sponsor.

Lili Johnstone, one of the managers at Poppy Arts, agrees.

“We get a lot of out-of-towners that haven’t seen our store before or that have come to the festival on an annual basis and make it a point to always stop by,” Johnstone says. “We definitely have an increase in sales. We get slammed in between movies where people are just killing a little bit of time.

“It’s pretty non-stop between shows,” she says. “It almost at times feels like a few days before Christmas, you know, there’s just that many people in the store looking around.”

Some businesses are having promotions to take advantage of the incoming traffic. Bluestem is giving passholders a 10 percent discount on merchandise at the store. It expires the Tuesday following the event.

Makes Scents, another festival sponsor, is giving passholders a 20 percent discount on store merchandise over the weekend of the festival. The store is also giving away votive candle holders and hydrating mists in gifts bags.

Poppy is offering a 10 percent discount to passholders and will be hosting a pop-up craft party with Natalie Creates.

Some businesses are preparing for the festival in other ways. Ted Sharp, the manager of Slackers CDs and Games, plans on stocking up on merchandise that he hopes will appeal to the festival attendees.

“I’ll check the movie schedule, and any time there’s a documentary that’s about a musician, I’ll make sure that we have something from them in stock,” Sharp says. “We usually have a section where we keep documentary movies. We usually have that a little closer to the front, in a more prominent place. Also, I’m working on getting all of our Criterion Collection movies in their own section for the weekend.”

Makes Scents is preparing limited-edition essential oils and scented candles that are linked to this year’s theme, The Long Now, which focuses on history and memory. For example, one of the candles made for this year’s festival is called Grandma’s House, and smells like cinnamon pie.

The store’s owner, Christina Kelley, is also putting together a special mix of essential oils called A Cure For Hangover that uses specific oils known to help fight hangovers –– important for the days after all those insider parties during the fest.

Poppy is planning to be more interactive with their customers.

“We’re going to get Post-Its and have people write what their favorite things are about True/False and then we’re going to put them right against the glass,” Johnstone says. “Hopefully, we’ll cover the whole window.”

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