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How The LA Marathon, AKA Corporate America, Ran Over Small Businesses On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day for love, a day where you can compassionately express yourself towards your loved one. People of all different genders, races, ethnicities, etc. choose to express themselves in different ways. Usually, Valentine’s Day is on a weekday, which means most couples will have dinner together. But, for some, Valentine’s Day isn’t only about love. It’s one of the few days that gives their businesses new life and hope — picture Mary. Mary owns a bakery in Brentwood, an upper class neighborhood in LA. The past month has been a nightmare for Mary in terms of sales, and Valentine’s Day might be the only solution for Mary and her struggling bakery. She has put her heart and soul into this bakery, and to see her bakery fall is the last thing she wants to envision.

The LA marathon is a significant event in LA, and even more importantly, after the Boston Marathon tragedy, we certainly should not show intimidation by backing off from marathons. Coincidentally, the LA Marathon was on Valentine’s Day this year. Now as much as marathons are important, what happens when it overlaps with Valentine’s Day, one of the most important days for a small business?? A total disaster for small businesses. I will give three reasons why and how it affects small businesses.

Blocking Off Streets and Areas

Let’s use the Mary example again. Mary’s bakery is in an area of Brentwood called San Vicente Blvd. San Vicente is very prominent and is the prime spot for ages 8 to 80, which is why it comes with an expensive rent for businesses. On Valentine’s Day, it is teeming with throngs of people. So far, so good for Mary. But what if the city of Los Angeles tells Mary that on Valentine’s Day, from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M., the area of her bakery will be blocked off due to the LA Marathon? That is exactly what happened. San Vicente was closed down so the runners could go through the streets. Now, people could still walk to the bakery, but the number of people that could/would go to Mary’s bakery waned by a great percentage. After several years, Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday, a day where people can take their partners for breakfast, and also have the whole day open, which was great for small businesses. To me, it is absurd that they would do such a thing to small businesses, considering they have to battle Corporate America every day. Mary could have had a great day of business if it weren’t for the LA Marathon, and in fact, she may have had weaker sales compared to an average day. Now that is a disgrace.

Sorry Your Order Was Late

Now let’s take a look at a real example: an owner of a small business that I talked to. She was the owner of a business, located in Beverly Hills, that used to make quality/expensive fruit bouquets. Here is a sample of one of their works:

Undoubtedly, the most important day for her business was Valentine’s Day. Her business would deliver a fruit bouquet to the customer’s designated location. Now imagine, what if many main streets and areas were blocked off? They would have had to drive for an extra half hour to an hour and a half to deliver each order. This would result in many customers’ dissatisfaction and a deflation of sales. She is very happy the LA Marathon never happened on Valentine’s Day while her business was around.

Everybody Hates Traffic

Naturally, humans are not fond of traffic and tend to avoid it. The LA Marathon certainly creates traffic, as you would imagine, for space gets limited. My father, knowing that there will be a lot of traffic on Valentine’s Day due to the marathon, had already prepared a homemade breakfast and did not bother to take my mom out for breakfast or lunch. The traffic also prevented people from making it on time for their reservations, which messes up a restaurant’s system.

In conclusion, though the LA Marathon is a great event and had great side elements with it being on Valentine’s Day such as proposals, it negatively affected the people we forgot about: small business owners. How does this all have to do with Corporate America? Without even getting into the details of the sponsors, Corporate America owns the LA Marathon (look at the link). I hope that for coming years, the city of Los Angeles reconsiders when they set the date of the Marathon so that everyone can benefit from it, and not just wealthy business owners.