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  of our store in the community,” she said. Hosting an event, especially in concert with a non-pro t, is a great way of expanding your store reach while doing good, Curtin points out. People who are not your usual customers  nd out about your store, drop in and are hopefully dazzled, returning later.
Such a fortunate turn of events has certainly been the case for Billy Milner, owner of
Life of Riley, a lifestyle store in Dallas.
While the retail establishment has been blessed with healthy foot tra c especially over the weekends, Milner routinely hosts wine walks and mimosa walks with the neighborhood stores. The big challenge he says is converting that tra c to customers, so he makes sure to stock lower-price-point items for those events. The advantage is that people remember these walks and return.
DON’T BE OVERWHELMED BY THE PROCESS. IT’S LIKE INVITING YOUR FRIENDS HOME; ONCE THEY START COMING IN THROUGH THE DOOR, IT’S EASY AND FUN.
– Julie Butler, Texas  reads
WORK WITH VENDORS
Julie Butler of Texas Threads, in Hereford, TX, agrees. She partners with her vendors and reps to host a wide range of charity events and two open houses. A rep from Tyler Candle has prepared little candles and matches and pieces of candy as giveaways at events, Butler said.
Frances Lawrence of Lawrence’s Gift, in Fort Worth, TX, also reports that vendors will sometimes contribute small gifts to a ra e. She entices customers to attend events by giving a free gift for certain dollar amounts spent in the store. Gifts have ranged from small Michael Aram bowls to cake stands and jewelry pieces.
JUST DO IT
A store event doesn’t have to be complicated, Butler pointed out. “Don’t be overwhelmed by the process. It’s like inviting your friends home; once they start coming in through the door, it’s easy and fun.”
Don’t get too hung up on price, Curtin advised. “It’s not a race to the bottom for price. It’s a race to make your customers anxious to come back and see you again soon because they had such a great time last time,” she said. “Having these parties helps cement our friendships with our customers. People want to buy things from people they know and like.”
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