Just Tell Everyone You’re Closing…

closed sign

…would be a good marketing strategy for a party, bar, restaurant or any business, really, that’s been flailing.

I recently went to the last Contempt party–a goth party that had been running for 15 years. They decided to shut it down seemingly because there wasn’t much interest any longer, the parties were usually sparsely attended and the DJs/organizers probably had other things to do. There are also a good handful (or more) of goth parties to choose from on any given weekend in New York these days (which is nice, I remember trying to find a goth party on a Friday night some 7 years ago and coming up empty handed), so the competition is fierce. But the closing night of Contempt (held at The Hills on 29th and 3rd, not downstairs at the Delancey, where it’s been for the past few years) was packed to the brim. Some 200 or more guests, I’d estimate. Kind of made it look wasteful that the party was closing in the first place. But then of course everyone came out because it was “closing night.” So, yes, just tell everyone you’re closing…and then… don’t? And keep doing “closing parties” for as long as you can, would be my advice…

Hey, hedge funds do it all the time. They tell people they’re “closed” to new money and everyone rushes to get in (And, of course, they still get in. Who would refuse new money?) So they keep that going for as long as they can. And if you want to make a killing, then following in the footsteps of the wealthiest and sneakiest people in the country would certainly be the way to go, n’est-ce pas?

Splash, the popular gay bar/club on 17th street is also closing on Aug. 10 and having a bunch of last hurrah parties this week. The place, where I have many fond memories of dancing into the night, going to the bathroom with the scantily clad gay boys (cause there was barely a women’s bathroom, cause you know, who needs one at a gay bar?) and making friends with some fabulous drag queens, has also been less popular and more sparsely attended lately. But when I walked by last night, it had people spilling out the door/windows.

Clothing stores, when they announce they are going out of business, and start selling everything at discount, always get a rush of customers.

And when I worked at Kiev Restaurant (which no longer exists) in the East Village some eight years ago, the owner was in the process of selling it for months, or close to a year, even. So we kept telling everyone we were closing, kept the place open as just a bar (not a restaurant), kept selling all the liquor (and I mean ALL of it, Johnny Walker Blue, Grey Goose, you name it) for $4/a pop cause we anticipated closing any day now (but the day didn’t actually come until months later) and had a sign outside saying “everything $4,” we got slammed like nobody’s business.  The other bartenders and I made crazy money in tips, like we never had there before.

So, yes, tell everyone you’re closing…but don’t actually for a while.