By Chyann Klahs, Kevin Zimmer, and Trinity Wilson
Four years ago Brockport business owner Judith Andrew had an idea for how to create a networking event for her fellow business owners as well bring people in the Brockport community together.
As Brockport Merchants’ Association President Andrew created Girls Day Out as an additional event out of her shop, Lightways Journey. Girls’ Day Out is where women of all ages can visit each business that is participating and receive a gift from a delicious treat to doing a craft.
“The whole point of it is to have fun, during this event you get something to eat, makes crafts and visit stores—Just have fun downtown” said Andrew.
Andrew says that over time Girls’ Day Out has become its own entity in the Brockport community.
“It’s become a Brockport Merchants Association event, it’s kind of a fundraiser for the Merchants Association,” said Andrew.
Trying to condense everything in a timely manner is Andrew’s biggest challenge.
“Time is always the most challenging. This process is very one to one. You have to go to each business. Do you want to do this? Let me know by this day, do they let you know. No, so then you have to call and then give them directions on what we’re doing,” said Andrew.
As time went on, the businesses involved have gotten the hang of the process.
“So, what I noticed was that it’s growing now, and people know what to do, they know what to expect,” said Andrew. “They know what the routine is. They plan their activity, there’s less supervision this year, because people are like, “Okay, got it. We’ve done that and we know what it is”. So that’s good.”
Andrew says that the advertising process has evolved over time.
“Susan Smith, who’s the vice president designs the flyers. We do some advertising in the Westside News. But not a lot of people read the newspapers anymore so we’re struggling with that,” said Andrew.
Andrew believes in the importance of word of mouth.
“But I think that the most effective way is word of mouth. I think that advertising is very expensive. It’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars and when you don’t have hundreds and hundreds of dollars its tough, so word of mouth and networking really works the best” said Andrew.
Brooke Albanese, owner of Lagom believes that the event is a great way to connect with the community.
“It’s just a matter of getting people out, getting them downtown and getting them into shops that maybe they wouldn’t normally have gone into,” says Albanese. “Also being able to communicate with people and making things together is very important.”
According to Albanese, there is a lot of advertising that goes into making this event to be known by people into the community and attract others outside of the community to come down to the village of Brockport and explore shops that people may never gone into before.
“My advertising process began with the merchant’s association going around handing out fliers to participating shops, taking an ad out in the paper, and promoting the event on Facebook,” said Albanese
Albanese says that each merchant participating in Girls’ Day Out will be creating a different craft that kids and families of all ages can make and take the creation they have made, but her shop is creating mini clothes pins this year.
“Participants are going to be creating mini clothes pins and decorating them so they can be used to hang projects that is something easy to make and take that is suitable and fun for all ages and the whole family,” said Albanese.
Marie Bell, owner of Country’s Treasures says that this event brings new opportunities.
“This event brings people downtown and it’s good to bring people into the shops so that people can see what we have here.—We could possibly get some new customers by getting people from outside of Brockport to come to the shops on Main Street,” said Bell.
Marie Bell, the owner of Courtney’s Treasures has hosted crafts such as making wool flower pins and ornaments. This year Courtney’s treasures hosted a yo-yo making craft. these pins are made from multiple different fabrics and does not require any stitching.
“This year we are making yo yo Pins. Thes are made with a yo-yo maker and what we’ll do is put a little button and a little pin the back and make it a yo-yo pin”, said Bell.
Bell says that every customer is different and has individual tastes.
“What I have found in previous years that not everybody’s craft skills are is the same as everybody else’s,” said Bell. Some ladies, they don’t want to really do anything crafty. So, what I’ve done is make some ahead of time, that way they can just take one if they want.”
Like many of the merchant’s that participate in this event, Bell enjoys watching participant complete their crafts and have fun in her shop.
“I enjoy watching everybody make the little projects” said Bell.
Girls’ Day Out is an event that displays the importance of unity. This event not only brings people in the Brockport community together but unites local businesses as they provide people the opportunity to spend a day to connect with local business owners, other attendees, and to explore what the villiage of Brockport has to offer.