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December: A Survival Guide

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | December 5, 2016
Thursday is December 1st-can you believe it? This month is historically one of the (if not the biggest) retail and dinning out months of the year! As shoppers gear up for their spending there are a few things that businesses owners can implement to spread the Holiday Cheer to customers, employees, and the community!
1. Make a kid friendly zone in your place of business: Many parents will have little ones accompanying them when shopping. As a parent, I know that this can be somewhat of a dreaded task if your kiddo is a hands on kind of shopper. Having a table or area set up with coloring books, building blocks or toys can be a great way to entertain kids in your store while parents shop! Do make sure parents still keep an eye on their kids (they are still responsible for them), but give them the option to let their kids be entertained while they take a minute to shop. If you have kids items for sale, this might be a good opportunity to let the little shoppers try them out-they might just ask for them for Christmas.
2. Customer appreciation and comebacks: In the busy shopping period between now and Christmas, how can you make sure shoppers become repeat customers? Find ways to connect with them after their initial visit, so you can encourage another trip to your store. For some businesses that might be creating a customer loyalty card, connecting with shoppers on social media, or creating an email campaign. Prize drawings are a great way to entice customers to fill out a contact card or encourage your shoppers to follow you on social media to hear about exclusive deals. Instagram is also a great way to showcase products for sale and specials.
3. Show your employees gratitude: We are all stressed-it’s Christmas 🙂 Make sure your employees know that they are playing a significant part in your businesses success! Having treats for employees is a great way to say thank you-and who doesn’t like holiday goodies? Plus we have some great businesses in town that specialize in treats and drinks! Do you give your staff a holiday gift? Emporia Main Street Gift certificates are an awesome gift to give. When you give a gift certificate from Emporia Main Street, your employee can use it like cash at any of our member businesses. Gift certificates come in denominations of $5, $10, and $20 and can be purchased at the Main Street office or by calling 620-340-6430.
4. Get involved in Midnight Madness: Our December version of this downtown shopping event is Thursday, December 8th from 8 p.m. to midnight. This event typically brings hundreds of shoppers out to Emporia Main Street businesses. Since it is in early December, it gives you a chance to catch folks early in their shopping. We already have over 35 Businesses participating. To join in the fun, call the office to sign up and promote your special!
5. Make sure your customers know they can spend their gift certificates with you: Not only are Main Street Gift Certificates a great gift idea, they are a great way to promote people coming into your business. If you are a Emporia Main Street Member then you can accept our gift certificates. Simply treat them like cash and bring them into the office to redeem their value. Unlike some gift certificate programs, Emporia Main Street does not take any percentage of sales from the gift certificates. If you bring us in a $20 gift certificate, we will write you a $20 check. Make sure your customers know you take these gift certificates by posting it on your social media pages and at your register. We have window/register clings if you would like one-just call the office!

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.