A couple of Guerneville, California fur stores recently claimed than an end-of-year protest by a local animal rights group help send their Christmas sales through the roof.
Mikki Herman of Kings & Queens Vintage Clothing in Guerneville told The Press Democrat that the publicity from newspaper and television coverage of the protests helped drive her seasonal sales. Herman told The Press Democrat,
It’s so amazing. A lot of people came in to support me and shop in Guerneville. Some people who were buying a fur said they never thought to buy a fur, but they felt a compulsion to make a statement.
Jennifer Neely of Memories That Linger told The Press Democrat that although customers stayed away during the first few days of the protest, sales spiked shortly afterward,
I had a bunny farmer come in and spend $300 on Christmas ornaments. You couldn’t buy publicity like this.
However, Alex Bury of Sonoma People for Animal Rights dismissed the claims of increased sales, chalking it up to friends and family of the store owners who wanted to make a statement. Bury told The Press Democrat,
Our tourist base is very progressive. They won’t want to see furs or fur protests.
. . .
We’re getting tons of e-mails and phone calls from people who want to get involved. What the last few weeks of protest have shown me is that most locals are against fur. We’re going to represent them and animals suffering in traps and continue to ask for fur to be removed.
Which is interesting because, according to The Press Democrat,
In recent weeks, counter protesters have shown up at the protests carrying their own signs and supporting merchants’ and consumers’ rights to buy and sell what they choose.
Merchants say fur protests backfired. Carol Benfell, The Press Democrat, December 31, 2004.
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