People Just Need a Reason to Go Out, to Buy, to Visit, to Shop: That’s my theory of local retail and dining.
Here’s where it’s worked for me (and Minneapolis/St. Paul businesses) in 2010.
Groveland Tap’s “Save the Nook Saturday” - Backstory: the venerable Nook burger shop on Hamline Avenue was gutted by fire on December 14th, closing the restaurant for the next few months. Commiserating with the quickly-out-of-work Nook staff, Groveland Tap hosted a fundraiser on Saturday, December 18th. For every pint of Summit beer purchased, the ‘Tap donated $1.50 to a Nook Employee fund. Why it worked? I waited 45 minutes with my husband and 2 kids for a table in mid afternoon. One of the servers told me it was busier than their Fish Fridays during Lent, St. Patrick’s Day, or their Facebook Voting Day Special. Twenty kegs of Summit later, they raised $6,700. We had no plans to go out for dinner that night, but let’s just say we did our best to help the Nook employees.
The Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) shopping spree along Grand Avenue in St. Paul: The Grand Meander. Did we need to make glittery popsicle stars at Creative Kidstuff? No, but it sure helped me spy on what my kids wanted from Santa.
Shopping parties with Chocolate at Elinor Artful Adornments in St. Paul. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, what business doesn’t have longer hours? Exactly, so how do you get people to come to your place? Make it a party! Make it fun! Bring a friend and save some money! That made Elinor stand out this holiday season.
First Avenue’s Benefit for Brad Kern in October. I had no clue who Brad Kern was, I was just excited to see Semisonic–a band I once flew to Amsterdam just to see–live again. People attend benefits or buy at silent auctions to help the stated cause, but also because they receive something valuable in return. Imagine my surprise in hearing Toolmaster of Brainerd while reading First Ave’s Twitter feed. So what did I receive? A rare chance to hear a mostly reunited Trip Shakespeare and discover a new fave: Jeremy Messersmith.
The Current’s top 89 of 2010, which is why I’m writing this blog on New Year’s Day listening to the rebroadcast at www.thecurrent.org, marking songs, and bands that I liked, but whose names I never caught over the year.