After last year’s Black Friday but before Cyber Monday, the social media world was abuzz with Small Business Saturday, when shoppers were encouraged to patronize small, local businesses instead of big box chains for their holiday shopping. It was so successful that two local businesswomen thought the concept should be expanded year-round to include Washington Road with fun events that could draw crowds, create energy and generate business for local merchants.
Sharon Clark, proprietor of Ona Boutique, 692 Washington Road, and photographer Karen Sturgeon of 123 Central Square came up with the idea for Walk on Washington, Saturday, May 19, from 4 to 9 p.m. At press time, they had 40 Washington Road businesses participating that night, doing everything from offering short how-to seminars to handing out food samples to giving makeovers or on-the-spot music lessons. Much of the event will take place on the sidewalk with participating businesses marked by balloon bouquets. Admission is free.
“I think it’s going to be a very effective thing but grassroots,” says Sturgeon.
Clark and Sturgeon had been working together for months trying to rally local business owners, especially women, to brainstorm ideas for the business district through a group they called “Women on Washington.” But when they came up with the idea for this event, they watched as it took off to include many merchants, not just women. Major sponsors are Bill Few Associates, Rollier’s Hardware and the Uptown Business Association.
To participate, businesses pay a one-time fee of $35, which in turn pays for save-the-date cards, posters and other promotional costs. Attendees will receive a punch card and people who visit a large number of businesses will be eligible to win door prizes. Businesses that still wish to participate can contact Clark through Ona Boutique’s Facebook page or Sturgeon at Karen@sturgeon-photography.com.
COFFEE WITH THE MANAGER The popular event, sponsored by the Community Relations Board, returns Tuesday, May 15, at Uptown Coffee. Sessions are 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Join Municipal Manager Steve Feller for a conversation about, well, whatever’s on your mind.