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posted: 5/17/2014 5:30 AM

Sunday shopping coming to Geneva's Little Traveler

Geneva store bows to customers' wishes

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  • The Little Traveler store in Geneva will be open Sundays starting this weekend. Customer requests spurred the venerable store to make that change permanent, according to owner Mike Simon.

       The Little Traveler store in Geneva will be open Sundays starting this weekend. Customer requests spurred the venerable store to make that change permanent, according to owner Mike Simon.
    Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

 
 

There was a time when shopping the boutiques of downtown Geneva on Sunday was a hit-or-miss proposition. And the one sure bet was that the venerable The Little Traveler, the store that birthed the Third Street shopping district, would be closed.

That changes Sunday.

Owner and President Mike Simon said that after 92 years, the business has been persuaded to make a change.

"Between customers and other merchants telling us (to open on Sundays) ... we finally relented," Simon said Friday.

The store at 424 S. Third St. will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Simon said customers tell him that they work all week and are busy shuttling their children to sports activities on Saturdays, so that Sunday is the only time they have for shopping.

"Sunday has become a primary shopping day in Geneva, and we need to be open when our customers want to come and visit us," Simon said in a news release.

The 36-room store, including its Atrium Cafe restaurant, had opened on Sundays during the Christmas shopping season in November and December for several years.

Simon said the store will add workers, and some of its part-time workers will add hours to their schedules.

The lack of uniformity in hours, especially nights and Sundays, for stores and restaurants has been a hot topic of discussion by the downtown merchants in the past decade.

In a 2007 city survey of shoppers and residents, the convenience of store hours received the lowest score of any question. At the time, many boutiques were not open evenings or Sundays.

Today, the city encourages longer hours by allowing advertising on the calendar of the city website for businesses that stay open on Sundays and plan a special event at the store at least once a quarter. About half the 250 businesses downtown are open Sundays, according to Ellen Divita, the city's economic development director.

"The city was pleased to hear the Little Traveler will be open on Sundays," Divita said via email. "As lifestyles have changed the last 20 years, Sunday has become the No. 1 shopping day in the country. Our downtown businesses that do open on Sunday report very strong sales, usually a full day's business in shortened hours, so it makes sense from an economic standpoint."

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