Rob Richard, with Main Street First, reads from The One and Only Ivan during last year’s One-City, One-Book Think Local event in April.
by Dave Warner
Think Local Little Falls has some changes in mind for 2020 when it comes to their Third Thursday events. One of the strengths of the group is that there is a large number of volunteers, and each month, they get together to talk about what is working, and what is not.
As they turned their attention to 2020, they felt that the Third Thursday events worked really well for some of the businesses in town and not as well for others. So, they worked on ideas to figure out what could be improved to make it work for all the businesses in the City.
Jessica Kelly, one of the Think Local leaders said, “While we’re still going to be having the Third Thursday events monthly, we’re building on that concept and really focusing on featuring a subset of our businesses once a month. For example, in January, we are featuring what we would call our health and wellness businesses, primarily our fitness facilities, but also the hospital and the YMCA, which encompasses a lot of things.”
During those brainstorming sessions, they realized that everyone can’t go to work out at every fitness place on one day, so a Third Thursday didn’t serve all of those businesses very well.
“So instead, for the month of January, we are going to be featuring a different health and wellness business every day of the month and whichever of those businesses is being featured that day, will offer either a free or reduced-cost event. In that way, we’re hoping that we can kind of spread the love across all of the businesses,” said Kelly.
The group feels that the change will really allow more people to explore and sample the kind of businesses that exist in the City, but it’s still a work in progress.
“What we have done, is identified each of the businesses that will be featured each month so that we make sure that we cover everyone as best we can, which is upwards of 60 business partners,” she stated.
The month of February will focus on all of the beauty businesses in the City and events will revolve around Valentine’s Day. Kelley said, “people are more likely to be interested in purchasing gift certificates from some of those businesses for a loved one.”
Kelly says that when they talk to each business, they are often surprised at what they have to say. “Sometimes Third Thursday works for a business that we didn’t think it would, and other businesses that we think would get traffic from those events, don’t.”
Last year the group rolled out Restaurant Week in March and they’re going to do that again this year. “That was sort of our first step away from the Third Thursday model,” she said. “We saw such positive feedback from both the businesses and the community from that event, that it got us thinking about trying to do more like that.”
In their opinion, Restaurant Week really benefited the fine dining establishments the best, so this year they’re going to put more emphasis on them and at the same time, try to feature the other restaurants and eateries that it may not have worked so well for.
“We’re looking at timing and other special events that we might incorporate into Restaurant Week to try and entice people to come to Little Falls,” said Kelly.
In August, the group is planning to focus on antiques. “These kinds of businesses have a big presence in Little Falls and we really weren’t serving them at all, so we are brainstorming about it and we’re working with them right now to make sure that we can put something together that can really help them in August.”
Another thing that helps, is the fact that there is a large antique show in Bouckville just south of Little Falls during the month of August. Think Local has already reserved billboards in the area to try and drive traffic from there up to the antique businesses that are here.
“We’re going to try and capture some of those shoppers and bring them to Little Falls,” she said. “That’s really a premier antique fair, so we really want to get the word out about what we have here to see who we can drag north.”
“The other thing that we want to do in our flyers is to provide people with descriptions of the businesses and what they offer, as well as some testimonials. We know there are loyal customers who love to frequent our shops and we want to share that message with the community who may not know about them,” stated Kelly.
Home improvement businesses will be featured during the month of May, and April will still be the one-book one-City event, which was so successful last year. The group is also looking to revamp Octoberfest. Kelly said, “we’re really going to just throw all the cards in the air and see where they land.”
She continued, “as Little Falls continues to increase the number of festivals and events, we’re going to look at how they impact each other, and how we can best serve the community. That’s our goal, serving the businesses and building the community bridges. We’re going to just keep working at it.”
To see what the group has planned for this month, take a look at January’s flyer (below).January 2020 Flyer for email