Historic Manassas, Inc. is proof that where there’s a will there’s a way, and they were recognized during our 2020 Merit Awards for the successful implementation and promotion of Sip & Shop, a recurring event that allows attendees to bring their favorite adult beverage along to wander and explore the streets downtown.
While the benefits of Sip & Shop are apparent, getting the idea off the ground took some real leg work! Debbie Haight, Executive Director of Historic Manassas, Inc., worked closely with a local ABC agent to secure a Special Event License and coordinated with the City Manager, City Council, and Police Department to iron out the logistics and regulations. With the sign off and support from these city officials, Debbie then took to the streets to meet face-to-face with the owners of the retail stores and restaurants in the designated area to explain the concept and build excitement.
From the get-go Sip & Shop has been a huge hit in Manassas. The Police Department has continued to assist, passing out cards to attendees explaining the rules and posting a video on Facebook about the program. The community support and successful team effort have garnered attention from many other Main Street communities looking to start something similar. “Sip and Shop was the one singular event that each month created revenue and brought new visitors to downtown,” says Debbie, and though the pandemic has put the program on hold they hope to be able to start up again soon. We’ll sip to that!
Hear more details and lessons learned in pulling together the Sip & Shop on DHCD’s Partners for Better Communities podcast. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or listen below.