he mission of Mt. Lebanon Partnership is to support local businesses—an effort which has its challenges during COVID-19. But they’re committed to finding creative ways to accomplish their mission, even if they have to completely reimagine the way they have operated before.
“Obviously, the face-to-face interaction with people and businesses has been dealt a pretty huge blow,” says Chris Reidenbaugh, promotions committee member at the Partnership, a nonprofit association for economic growth on Washington Road. “We’ve had to adjust to everything digitally. We also have some things planned in terms of trying to do some open-air events.”
In March, the Partnership hosted a digital cocktail hour with Il Pizzaiolo, where they walked through their drink menu for people at home. They also took their popular annual Plein Air Kids Paint-Out event and reimagined it as a Paint-In, and kids took the month of May to submit their paintings online. And at the time this was written, they had some fun ideas for how they could reimagine First Fridays, including a Podcast or virtual DJ, but nothing had been officially decided. Check mtlebopartnership.org for possible updates.
In the coming months, the Partnership expects they will need to continue approaching events in a creative way. “We feel this is probably going to go on for a while, not just this summer. And we would rather be proactive than reactive, in case we don’t go back to any semblance of the old normal,” says Reidenbaugh. As such, the Partnership plans to maintain its Open Lebo page—a site created in the beginning of the pandemic to inform residents about business hours and offerings—for many months to come.
Final details were still in the works at the publication time, but one proactive service the Partnership would like to provide is local business care boxes. Rather than ordering an entire dinner from one restaurant, residents could get items from three or four different restaurants in one box, through the Partnership. For example, a sweets box might have a pint of ice cream from Betsy’s, candy from Grandpa Joe’s and coffee from one of the local shops.
“It makes it easier for businesses to know they have 100 orders of X item, rather than five things to fill online, 10 phone calls throughout the day and some walk-ins,” says Reidenbaugh. “We’re trying to make it easier for businesses so we can supplement their income and have Mt. Lebanon residents take advantage of all the restaurants being open in an easy,
Another creative promotion, now live on the Partnership website, is called Love Lebo Take Out Bingo. Simply download the bingo card, which features a business name on each square, and start collecting receipts from local purchases. Once you have receipts from five adjoining squares, you win a prize, including T-shirts, koozies or small gift cards. This contest was originally scheduled to end in June, but has been extended through August due to its popularity.
Keep an eye out for details on the Artists’ Market, scheduled for October 3 and 4. The Partnership has already released a “virtual market,” by featuring different local artists’ products on their Facebook page, facebook.com/mtlebanonartistsmarket. But they realize that the physical market scheduled for October may need to be modified, depending on possible COVID-19 restrictions.
“The big thing is that we have to take things just as seriously as every other community,” says Reidenbaugh. “We have to follow CDC guidelines, and do what’s best for all of Mt. Lebanon, not just the businesses.”
For more details on Mt. Lebanon Partnership events, services and updates, visit mtlebopartnership.org, or check out their Facebook page.