Downtown businesses used to know this, but when you only have a limited amount of space in your core downtown, you need high parking turnover at curb spaces to get enough people through the door.
Most people who come into your shop don’t buy anything. So to get the volume of random stop-ins you need to turn a profit, you need to get a lot of people through the door throughout the day. That can’t happen if you have the same cars hogging all the spots all day long. The more compact your downtown is, the truer that is, and the higher your curb parking rates need to be.
People complain, but they complain about everything. If you have a nice downtown with a lot of nice stores, people are going to keep coming no matter what the curb parking meter prices are like.
And if you are a local politician in charge of this stuff in one of our Commonwealth’s older downtowns, you need to act like a leader and be willing to take a few months of heat from the parking whiners until they eventually shut up about it.