Both times we’ve run the Survey of Rural Challenges, small town business owners have picked the same top challenge: adapting to being open later hours. That means I’m always on the lookout for ideas that work to help bring more people downtown and are also successful at generating business for local stores.
Cindy shared one in the comments on our story about downtown concerts drawing crowds but not shoppers.
“We did have a new event this summer where people did shop,” Cindy said. “It was dinner and a movie. We set up tables throughout downtown, had dinner, a musician performed, and we showed a movie on the side of one of the buildings after. There was about 40-45 minutes for people to walk around after dinner and before the movie, and they shopped. It was mostly couples in their 20’s, early 30’s.”
What events have you seen have success in a small town at getting people into downtown and actually shopping after five?
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Joann Schissel says
I love the idea of dinner first, then shopping time before the movie. Our community (Knoxville) started a Live After 5 and held it a couple times this past summer on a Friday night once a month. It was only mildly successful. Stores around the square were open late and we had additional vendors and entertainment. We promoted in the newspaper, the merchant’s Facebook pages and Chamber e-news. I think if we do this regularly in the summer months we will have greater attendance.