Fun and games for women is big business for shops

Port Main Street Inc.’s Ladies Night Out accomplishes goal of introducing shoppers to downtown stores, merchant says
Ozaukee Press staff

Cowboy hats and boots were the preferred attire last Thursday as Port Main Street Inc. held its annual Ladies Night Out, this year with a Wild, Wild West theme.

But while the event looks from the outside like it’s all about having fun, Ladies Night Out serves a greater purpose, Main Street Executive Director Kristina Tadeo said.

It’s about giving downtown businesses exposure and bringing people in to experience what Port has to offer, Tadeo said.

And it seems to be working.

Kelly Brown, owner of Locally Inspired, said she had a steady stream of customers during the Sept. 15 event.

“All through the night, I heard people saying, ‘I’ve never stopped in here before’  and ‘I’ve always meant to stop in but haven’t,’” Brown said. “It’s great for increasing awareness of local shops.”

Many of the women attending Ladies Night Out shopped, she added.

“It was definitely worth being open later than I usually am,” Brown said. “I think overall the best part is getting people in the door, getting people to explore their own downtown.”

And the impact doesn’t stop with Ladies Night Out, Brown said.

The day after the event, two or three women came to Locally Inspired and shopped, using coupons that Brown had placed in the swag bags given out during the event.

And, she said, several women talked about making return trips.

“I definitely heard people saying, ‘This will be a great place to come back for holiday shopping,’” Brown said.

Tadeo said she heard the same sentiments expressed as she walked through downtown during the event, but she’s not settling for anecdotal evidence. As she does after every Main Street event, she’s in the process of surveying businesses to get solid numbers and evidence of the impact of Ladies Night Out.

Almost every business has reported increased foot traffic during Main Street events, she said, noting 25 businesses participated this year.

This year, roughly 270 women attended Ladies Night Out, about 100 more than last year’s event, which attracted 180 women, Tadeo said.

“I heard over and over as I was going around women saying, ‘I didn’t know that store was there,’” she said. “In terms of getting eyes on businesses, it works.”

And since many of those attending are from Ozaukee County, it is likely they will return to shop if they like what they see, Tadeo said.

“The fact they know what’s there and come back is huge for businesses,” she said.

The event is also an adult-oriented one, where many Main Street events are aimed at the whole family, Tadeo said.

“This kind of event lends itself to getting people in the door and doing some shopping.”

And while many communities hold Ladies Night Out events, Port’s tends to stand out.

“We want to be on the map for having fun, interesting Ladies Night Out events,” Tadeo said, adding that’s one reason Main Street picks a fun theme for the night. This year’s Wild, Wild West event featured line dancing, horses, music and circus performers, while past events have included casino night, the Great Gatsby and others.

“It’s the themes and add-ins that make the night exciting,” Tadeo said. “What I keep hearing is that in comparison to Ladies Night Out events near us, ours is more fun.”




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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