Happy Mud Season!
Although, as I write this, the snow has returned and the temperature is frigid, Spring appeared for a brief moment and we’re pretty sure it will come to stay by the time you read next month’s newsletter. We look forward to that – and in the meantime, here’s what’s been happening and what’s coming up!
New in this issue, our first “Featured Business.” You, too, can have your business featured here and on the websites – just fill out the form and send it in! If you’re a new member, you’re already in the queue so look for an email from Shira asking for information.
Speaking of new, I wanted to tell you some exciting news about our new website! First, I've heard from several members that a payment plan would be very helpful - please know we are happy to work with you to create a payment schedule for your dues, sponsorships, and/or place map advertising. We even have an option on the website to pay monthly for your dues and place map ads (the ads must be paid in full by March 24 each year but after that, you can do a payment plan). If you would like to make payment arrangements, please call or email me and we'll work it out!
Also, with our new software, we can now track how many people found your business through our website. Although only recording data for eight months, the average number of clicks for each business exceeded 330 in the first eight months. This is especially important as today’s average consumer questions a businesses legitimacy if it has no web presence. It is that important. Especially as we seek to benefit from – and compete with – internet sales.
Which leads me to picking up where I left off last month regarding information taken from the "Future of Downtown" workshop I attended in January conducted by the DHED, TA Connect, and Mass Development.
Here’s some interesting statistics compiled for and shared at that workshop:
Boomers are less likely to use digital devices in the store, but equally likely to research online for savings.
The importance of having a presence on the web only increases with time. We'd like to help our members establish your own web presence (in addition to your presence as a member of the GSFABA!). It's relatively simple to create a new website - check out wordpress.com, godaddy.com, or wix.com, to get you started. These will run about $150/year (more than your member dues!).
You can also build your database using Robly (mention we sent you and we’ll get a present from them), or Constant Contact or MailChimp. Also, go to Facebook and sign up! It's super important and easy to reach customers through this social media platform.
If you need help, have questions, or just want someone to bounce your ideas of off, that’s why we’re here! Just call or email the office and we’ll help you through it (see our new “Ask Shira” option below).
“Inspiration” was a big topic at the workshop. How do you connect to your customers? Some effective and easy ways to think about this – “INSPIRE” consumers to come to you.
It’s also important to encourage good reviews from customers – 67% of consumers browse and research on-line and read reviews. When you get a good one, put it on your website or FB page; if you get a bad one, respond and make it right.
Some more tips for in-store success: Make sure your sales people – or person – is well trained, friendly, helpful, and able to give advice and directions. Offer gift wrapping, shipping, and delivery – and be sure to take credit cards. Make it easy for your customers to buy, ship, and come back to your store.
Thanks for reading, stay in touch, and check in next month for more ideas about how to compete in the new marketplace of the 21st century.
See you around the Hilltowns!
Marjorie Moser, a fabric artist, practiced her craft in New York City’s demanding world of fashion and Broadway Theater for three decades. During those years, Marjorie also worked with street involved youth, teaching printing and design on fabric, and leading wellness workshops.
In 2013, Marjorie moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Shelburne Falls with her husband Peter Moser, a graphic and web designer and they set up shop on Water Street working together to create beautifully designed and carefully printed pieces. In May 2016, Marjorie opened her workshop at 2 Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls where you can find Peter and Marjorie’s printed textiles and Marjorie’s hand-dyed, sewn, and quilted pieces.
Marjorie’s dyeing work has evolved into a joyful and pleasant pace of creating original cloth pieces that are rich with color and inspired by the natural surrounds of this beautiful place, often using flowers and leaves from her garden on Water Street. Her blog “I dye every day” chronicles her day to day experiences with dyes, both natural and synthetic and the beautiful markings that result from folding, binding and printing on silk, linen, cotton, and wool.
Visit Marjorie’s website, designed by Peter, at www.marjoriemoser.com. And be sure to stop by the lovely little shop that hangs over the Deerfield River between the Iron Bridge and the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls!
The date of The Auction has changed to:
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Shelburne-Buckland Community Center
Come for the silent and live auctions, 50/50 raffle, live music, and delectable foods from Cliff's Smokin Backyard BBQ.
Attend the Auction!
Tickets are on sale now and include entry, 1 free drink, hors d'oeuvres, and dessert.
$15 in advance | $20 at the door
Call 413-625-2526 or email email@example.com to make your reservation today.
DONATE an item to the Auction!
Complete the above form and send to:
P.O. Box 42, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Donated items must be arranged to be picked up or delivered to:
Greenfield Savings Bank, 58 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls
by March 10
Thanks to our sponsors!
Rachel Silverman is busy inspiring her students through making visual art at the Mohawk Trail Middle and High School. This March and April she brings the works of her charges to Salmon Falls Gallery. Students create artwork in her regular art classes and in Art Club. Looking at the school’s website, Silverman gives her students many prompts and inspirations for being creative. At the top of the website she suggests:
“Artists create original art, develop art making skills, communicate through art, take risks, collaborate, solve problems, reflect, and have a global awareness of art-making.” Sounds like a plan for a vibrant life!
Sketchbook prompts include, “Draw a relative by the light cast from a TV/Phone/Computer or other screen; Draw your art teacher in a fight with an animal; There is an animal living in one of your appliances. Draw it; Make a detailed drawing of five square inches of grass; Draw a flower. Make it dangerous.”
Come support our local young artists and find out just what responses to these prompts (or any others) they have created! Exhibit runs from March 3 – April 30, reception for the exhibit is Saturday, April 8, 4-6pm, with music by student musicians The Paperweights.
Embroidery artist Nathan Hanford wears two hats: one is for his own artwork, and the other as artist in residence and case manager to Soldier On, an agency devoted to ending veteran homelessness. During March and April, Hanford’s exhibit Friendship Thread: portraits of friends both near and far and The Artworks of Veterans of Soldier On can be seen in side by side shows at Salmon Falls Gallery.
Hanford, a native of Becket, MA, creates simple yet stunning portraits in thread on vintage linens. The portraits seem to find the essence of his subjects. Many are men, in sometimes surprising environments. It is quite wonderful seeing men captured in a medium that has been, historically, women’s work. In Hanford’s words, he draws inspiration from “things I see; people I meet; stories from my family and past.” The use of thread and vintage linen harkens to textures of the past, while the images are thoroughly modern in their message.
At Soldier On, Hanford not only facilitates creative based education but is working hand in hand with Soldier On to create a flexible arts and culture curriculum to be used to enrich the lives of the veterans that they serve. The exhibit at Salmon Falls Gallery will show Veterans artwork in various media including embroidery, painting and mixed media. There will also be information about the agency at the exhibit. For more information, www.SalmonFallsGallery.com, www.WeSoldierOn.org or call the gallery at 413.625.9833.
Davenports' Service Station, the Mobil station on Route 2 just east of the village of Shelburne Falls, will TEMPORARILY CLOSE on Monday, April 3 for an underground storage tank upgrade. This upgrade will take 3-4 weeks. During this time, customers will have limited access to the automotive repair bays and to the convenience store, so make your appointment today to get your snow tires taken off!
Everyone at Davenports' looks forward to seeing you after their reopening at the end of April. Look for their grand reopening sometime later this spring!
You're invited to join us! The GSFABA promotes the region in a variety of ways - some of the most visible are our world-class events that attract thousands of residents and visitors from across the globe.
Sponsorship opportunities are now available to businesses and individuals, affording you broad exposure through our marketing efforts that put your name front and center.
Sponsorship opportunities still available include the annual Auction, Bridge of Flowers Classic Races, the Iron Bridge Dinner, Moonlight Magic, and our member breakfasts. Promote your business while supporting these great community events and the economic vitality of the region.
If you'd like information about 2017 sponsor opportunities, please call Carmela at 413-625-2526 and we'll design a package just for you.