Saturday, June 23, 2007

THE CITY DESK - Rory Riddler

Holding The Line On Main Street
What Image Do We Want?
For all the concern individuals and groups have shown for preserving the historic character of Main Street, I’m surprised more concern isn’t being shown when it comes to the image Main Street projects.
Take for example “Tipsy Tuesdays”.
That’s what Mexico On Main is proud to call it’s Tuesday night promotions aimed at younger drinkers. Of course that isn’t the first thing that attracts your attention to their full-color glossy advertising cards that have been making their way around area universities.
I would say the first thing that would attract the attention of any red blooded male would be the rear view of the topless brunet tugging seductively at her thong. Something tells me the ad is promising a little more than it can deliver to those young male patrons, but hey, they have to learn about truth in advertising sometime.
Nothing in the ad promises that what you see is what you’ll find when you get there. Sex sells and after all, they have to compete with all those bars on the East Side.
Every good promotion needs a slogan and Mexico On Main has a great one. Their slogan on this advertising piece is “It Don’t Get Any Cheaper Than This In St. Louis”. Wow, that should attract the kind of customers we want in Downtown St. Charles. There is nothing like advertising yourself as the discount leader of entertainment districts.
In this case, their claim to be cheaper is no will-of-the-wisp scantily clad model. It’s backed up by their Tipsy Tuesday special of “50 Cent” mixed drinks from 8 till 10:30. Nothing says drink to excess to a college student better than a 50 Cent mixed drink special. If you have a hybrid car, be sure to stop by to fill up the tank.
Any good promotion needs a few good sponsors. In the case of Mexico On Main they have 104.1 and “Hot” FM 104.1 is the home of St. Louis hip-hop. is a web site that posts posed and candid photos of, well, drunks. They promote bars that want to appeal to young people who want to, uhhhh now don’t tell me, oh yeah….get drunk.
If you think I am being too simplistic, just check out’s slogan, “There’s A Good Chance I’m Wasted”. It kind of goes right to the point.
Having your photo looking drunk and stupid, posted on is a good way to stay in touch with Mom and Dad who are paying your college bills. Employers might also find this web site useful. Of course, George Bush and Bill Clinton might not have gotten as far as they did, if everyone had a camera in a cell phone and a place to post the pictures when they were in college.
Another interesting challenge of marketing to young people is you aren’t suppose to be selling alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. Mexico On Main’s advertising says you must be 18 and older to get in. Hmmm. It must be a terrible responsibility to make sure the 21 year olds aren’t passing 50 cent mixed drinks to the 18 year olds in a place where they are packed in like sardines. Good luck with that.
The responsibility to see that no alcohol is given to those under 21 within an establishment rests solely with the owner and holder of the liquor license. Ordinance 115.03 is even entitled RESPONSIBILITY OF SELLER FOR SALES TO CERTAIN PERSONS. It reads in part:
“ (A) …Intoxicating liquor or non-intoxicating beer shall not be given, sold or otherwise supplied to any person under the age of 21 years.”
In the end it all comes down to what a community, its elected representatives and Police Department will allow.
There are many fine establishments on Main Street and there is nothing wrong with having a variety of entertainment venues and music. But there is a price you pay when the reputation and image of an area changes. It becomes harder to keep places like the St. Louis Bread Company or to attract quality retailers.
Is it worth the short term return to say anything goes? Or is it time to make the tough decisions about the future of our Downtown.
Just as the reputation of a lifetime can be ruined in a moment, the reputation of a wonderful retail, dining and entertainment area can be ruined overnight. There is a line which, once crossed, is hard to move back. It’s time to hold the line on Main Street.