Merchants make the Main Street, and Lynchburg’s Accents Flags and Gifts proves the point. Deborah Fears Keeling, owner of the 21-year old business, has been involved in Lynch’s Landing, the city’s Main Street organization, for seven years. But this year, she says, the events and cooperative marketing strategies have really taken off.
In January, Lynch’s Landing began the Retail and Restaurant group, a merchant-led effort to share ideas and strategies to increase retail sales and traffic. “We had forty people at the first meeting, says Keeling, “and within a few months, we built to our first real success–an Easter egg themed retail incentive.”
The collaborative work continued, as did the successes. Maybe it was Deborah’s own flair that livened up the Downtown Diva shopping crawl this year with feather boas, tiaras, pink shopping totes, and wands. But what ever it was worked (watch the video here). Keeling says they’re still measuring the success of that particular event. “In their boas, the groups of women were hard to miss that night, but the shopping’s not done. The coupons we gave out keep coming in, and they’re good until Christmas eve.”
Keeling says that the merchant involvement is critical. “We all benefit, but someone has to put the effort in first, to show that they care. Then, after the first really successful promotion, it gets easier. But if it doesn’t happen right away, you can’t quit. You’ve got to try, try again.”