Most locally owned retailers are unable to compete head-on with the multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns that national chains rely on.
So they have to be smarter.
In Spokane Valley, the Desperate Housewives Shop Hop is a premier example of that innovation. Today marks the sixth annual free organized shopping activity that bands together seven local shopkeepers who promote their wares with customer appreciation activities and a common theme. Two local restaurants also are offering lunch specials.
“I just had this vision,” said De Scott, event creator and owner of Simply Northwest. “I started it because I think there are ways to create greater things with numbers.
“It gets people out,” Scott said, noting it can be quite a social event as friends meet, and later “when they do need a gift, (hopefully) they do remember all of us.”
Participating businesses are Simply Northwest, The Trellis, Beyond Beads, The Olive Branch, A La Sha, Orchid Boutique and Scrapper’s Attic. Lunch specials also are being offered at Cuppa Joes and Savanny Thai Food Express.
This year’s theme is “green” to promote environmental awareness. Shoppers can look forward to in-store specials, tasty treats and a complimentary gift at each store while supplies last.
Customers can begin at any participating retailer, grab a flier that maps business locations, and visit all seven boutiques for a chance to win the $350 grand prize in gift certificates.
Some shoppers even will be dressed in pre-ordered T-shirts with a Desperate Housewives Shop Hop 2010 logo. Scott said the event has grown from about 150 customers the first year to some 500 in 2007. She anticipates about 350 people will be out for this year’s fun.
“It’s like a big party in a small radius. … As a shopkeeper I love to hear the screams of those who run into friends they haven’t seen for six months or six years.”