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Purple Media Network

How Front Street businesses stay aloft in the 100 degree heat

Kevin Thomas
Front Street of Natchitoches has seen better times as they have suffered from low business due to the heat.

The heart of Natchitoches has become a dry town that is trying to stay afloat and suffering to bring business in due to the high temperatures. Natchitoches store owners are aware of slow business in the summer months but did not expect an impact of this sort on their business.

Cathy Willett, owner of Pied à Terre, has had her doors open since March of 2020 and has not experienced a summer like this, where business is struggling in this sort of matter.

“I have absolutely noticed a decline in sales, it has been absolutely terrible to the point where I have cried,” Willet said.

For many of the store owners, they have had to become selective with items that they choose to sell, instead of buying a variety of goods that they think may sell.

Mike Morton is the owner of Laughing Sam’s just off of Front Street on St. Denis Street. His business is fresh to the Natchitoches scene, but he too is experiencing the hardships from the weather.

“It has been hard, because I am located off of Front street, not many people know where we are located. So I was able to put a sign up on the corner to allow people to know where we are at,” Morton said.

He is also one of the stores who has had to limit the merchandise that he brings in.

“I have had to become picky with what I purchase, I have had to select items that I know will sell,” Morton said.

Morton and other shop owners have been able to bring in more customers by hosting a St. Denis Second Street festival. The event included local bands’ performances, a live DJ, food trucks and vendors to bring the festival to life.

Britany Williams from Sweet Fruit Delights has had help from the St. Denis Second Saturday event, which has motivated people to hit Front Street and shop local in a time like this.

“We have been relying heavily on social media to reach out to people of the community and have even shifted our business to be able to cater to people through Doordash and Waitr,” Williams said.

Social media is a big source for these businesses at this time because it is the only thing motivating people to leave their house.

“I have done multiple Facebook lives for my customers so they can see what I have added to the store and if they are interested in purchasing something I can ship to them or even deliver to their house,” Willett said.

These owners also want Northwestern State University of Louisiana students to shop locally and eat locally because when they do so they are helping Natchitoches stay alive.

“I always try to stay local, if I am in need of a lightbulb or some tools I make a quick run to Kaffie-Fredrick because I am giving back to the community. It may be a little more pricey but I know I am giving back,” Morton said.

These owners would like to encourage students and residents to keep shopping locally and support the businesses that help carry Natchitoches.

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About the Contributor
Kevin Thomas, Current Sauce - Copy Editor
Kevin Thomas is a senior communication major. This is his third year on The Current Sauce staff and first and final semester working as Copy Editor. He hopes to continue his journey of writing as he hopes to fulfill his dreams of writing for magazines after graduation. He cannot wait for what this semester has in store and what’s next.

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    Melody GilbertSep 7, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    I love the very honest quotes your reporter got from the business owners. It’s been hard with the heat, and this story really captures that feeling.