Palm Springs International Film Festival brings star-power and boosts to local businesses

Every year, the Palm Springs International Film Festival boasts some of the biggest projects and A-list celebrities, but it brings more than just Hollywood to the Coachella Valley. According to several business owners, it also brings a boost to local cafes, stores, and restaurants.

“We’re seeing a lot more fresh faces in town. I know that the whole city gets really excited,” said Angie Chua, owner of Bobo Palm Springs Stationary Shop. “As the weekend kicked off we’re just seeing a growth and influx of new folks coming in. So we’re just excited to have everyone and see how the rest of the film festival progresses.” Chua has been in her current shop for about three years now, so this isn’t her first Palm Springs Film Festival Opening Weekend. Chua told KESQ she loves the groovy vibe the festival brings to the town.

But for Claire Wolfson, founder of Bean Goods, this was a new experience. And she noticed a spike in customers too.

“Saturday, I would say has been the busiest day of the week. But yesterday, I saw a bit of an influx as well,” Wolfson noted. She has had an online store for several years now, but she opened up her first brick-and-mortar only a few weeks ago. Her store is a funky and funny shop with items oriented towards dachshunds and dog loving pet parents. Wolfson told News Channel Three that this year was a learning experience for her, and that she’s already planning big projects and items for next year’s festival.

Several other local businesses, including Cafe La Jefa, inside The Flannery Exchange, had a line nearly out the door for most of the morning. Their tables outside on the patio were also mostly taken up.

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“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind here,” said Cole Otting, a barista at the coffee shop.

“Usually we have a little bit of a lull after New Year’s and Christmas. But we didn’t really see that this year. It’s just been constantly busy. And I think the film fest played it’s played its role in that.” Otting also said a few of the actors had even stopped by to check out the coffee shop earlier in the week.

“You just never know you you’re going to see in Palm Springs during the festival. It’s a really cool time to be here,” said Otting.

The business rush also gives store owners like Adrienne Wiley, at Covet Boutique, the unique chance to talk and connect with out-of-town customers.

“Some people just are here to watch, other people are actually involved in some of the films, which has been really interesting. So it’s been a great experience,” Wiley said. “And it’s such a fun boost in business, you know, right after the holidays.” Her shop sells an assortment of curated items, perfumes, as well handmade jewelry and permanent jewelry.

“We make all of our own jewelry here in the shop. So they’re actually taking a true piece of something that’s made here in Palm Springs home with them,” Wiley said. And the customers never forget the experiences they have here in the valley.

“A lot of people remember the store and come back the next time, whenever they’re in town,” Wiley said. She remembers the year the festival had to be cancelled because of the pandemic, and admitted the beginning of the year was much slower. However, since then, Wiley has seen business grow every year since.

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