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Rodeo Drive Opts for Sterling Image

What Beverly Hills needs is a simple marketing gimmick, one that dispels the notion that you have to be rich to shop there.

That is what the Beverly Hills Visitors Bureau hoped to come up with when it embarked on a campaign last October urging potential shoppers not to be intimidated by high prices in the city's shops.

"We wanted to let people know that they don't have to spend a fortune to shop copy love necklace cartier price in Beverly Hills to enjoy our atmosphere and hospitality," said Catherine Sawelson, the bureau's general manager. The program, she said, would "humanize" Beverly Hills in the minds of shoppers.

The Visitors Bureau, an replica cartier baby love necklace arm of the Chamber of Commerce, asked merchants to submit merchandise that shoppers would "associate with Beverly Hills . . . convey the Beverly Hills image and represent the Beverly Hills life style." A catalogue was planned for worldwide distribution.

Twenty four businesses responded. Cartier said it sold a sterling silver barbell key ring for $25. Giorgio had a T cartier necklace diamond imitation shirt for $17.50. Gucci Shops listed a memo pad and pen set for $19.

Some merchants say plan to advertise less expensive 'hidden treasures' would make famed shopping street look cheap, lose air of exclusivity. The campaign was set to begin before the Christmas holiday, but it was stopped before it was launched when Rodeo Drive merchants protested that the campaign would hurt their image, making them look cheap.

"The Beverly Hills Visitors Bureau has been putting out stuff that we're a little upset about," said Don Tronstein, chairman of the Rodeo Drive Committee.

"The campaign was designed to give the impression that Beverly Hills is not expensive, but the result is to say that Beverly Hills has something for poor people," said Laura Segal, a spokeswoman for the Rodeo Drive Committee, a group of 26 merchants in the Chamber of Commerce. "It says that business in Beverly Hills and on Rodeo Drive is bad and stores are groping for customers. That is not true and it is not a clever way to market the city of Beverly Hills."

Segal said the city should not be ashamed that it has a love necklace cartier price imitation reputation as being expensive. "Our committee presents Rodeo Drive as what it is and what it is is a place to shop for quality merchandise which is expensive," she said.

The committee countered the bureau's drive by putting out a holiday press release listing gifts available at Rodeo Drive stores. One item, a grand crystal liter of Giorgio fragrance for women, cost $500. Another, a diamond and platinum Art Deco necklace, cost $210,000.

"Who wants to go into a store where the only thing you can buy is the cheapest thing?" Segal said. "Rodeo Drive has something for everybody, but there are only so many T shirts and key chains you can buy."

The protest forced a delay in the bureau's program. "Basically it is in a holding pattern right now," said Michael Sims, the chamber's director. "The concept was blown out of proportion. The program was designed to promote our shops and the various price ranges and products. The bottom line with any merchant is to get people in the stores."

Still, announcements about the $25 or less program appeared in several newspaper reports, some linking the campaign with a growing concern by Beverly Hills merchants over competition from Beverly Center, Century City Shopping Center and the coming Nordstrom's at the Westside Pavilion.

The bureau fears that the city's reputation may be scaring off potential buyers. "Our publicity that we are so exclusive and so expensive may be working against us," Sawelson said in a recent article in The Times.

Chamber President David Orgell said he was particularly upset about one report that Beverly Hills had become a popular place to look but not buy, because few people were seen carrying shopping bags. "Very few people are aware of the number of people who make purchases and send their packages (by courier) directly to their homes or hotel rooms," he said.

Orgell said he wanted to dispel the myth that Beverly Hills salesmen are unfriendly to small spenders. "Our people are hired for their willingness to serve," he said. "If we get complaints that our sales people are unbearable or snooty, we don't want them."

Orgell added, "We want shoppers in all price ranges. Beverly Hills is not cheapening itself. The quality is still here. We let people know that we are an elegant shopping area and we have things for everybody at every price range."
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    By LLLOO6
    Added Sep 29 '17


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