the carriage trade

the carriage trade

Affluent patrons of a store, restaurant, or other such establishment. The name refers to the usual mode of transportation for wealthy people in bygone eras. Don't worry about this slight economic downturn—the carriage trade will keep us in business.
See also: carriage, trade

carriage trade

The best customers. Restaurants, stores, and other establishments were especially pleased to serve wealthy customers who arrived and departed in their own private horse and carriage, as distinguished from people who came and went by foot or public transportation. It was the purchasing power of the carriage trade that produced a reaction from the establishment's personnel that was solicitous to the point of obsequiousness.
See also: carriage, trade