This one is especially for the downtown businesses.
Standing in downtown Waterville, Maine, surrounding by big crowds for the Memorial Day parade, Marc Pitman tweeted in frustration:
The marketer in me is going nuts. Hundreds of people here downtown. WHY AREN’T BUSINESSES OPEN!? Selling coffee, anything for foot traffic!
— Marc A. Pitman (@marcapitman) May 27, 2013
I know you want time off. I know you want to see the parade.
But don’t you dream of seeing hundreds of people downtown? Well, here they are. How can you serve their needs right now?
Yeah, I know the crowds are used to showing up, sitting around, watching, then dispersing. But you could:
- sell coffee or snacks
- give away coffee or snacks
- hand out flags
- give away samples
- hold a prize drawing
- offer free wifi
What could you add to this list?
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Marc A. Pitman, FundraisingCoach.com says
I’m glad that resonated with you, Becky!
The biggest push back I’m getting is “because they’re choosing to be respectful of the Memorial Day observance.”
I too am humbled by the people who’ve died making it possible for our country to exist. But I see nothing unpatriotic about serving the crowds — either by giving things away or by selling it — at an event.
People in our downtown complain about people choosing box stores over local. I’m convinced many people would at least consider local if store owners got them in the store. And it’s far easier getting them in the store when they’re already on the sidewalk!
Becky McCray says
Interesting that the biggest response is it’s out of respect. Because I see the same exact pattern at parades all over, at all times, and for all celebrations. Hard to use “respect” as your reasoning for the Homecoming parade, Fourth of July, or Festival of Lights.
Jason E Camis says
I couldn’t agree with both of you more! When I had a coffeeshop/café some years ago I actually put up signs saying “Restroom Friendly” and invited folks to come in and use ours. It led to more sales, more awareness and even some folks leaving .50 or a $1 and just saying thank you.
Becky McCray says
Jason, I think that is a smart approach. And bathrooms are bound to be a big need during any downtown events.