Downtown sale displays collaboration
By Shelley Swift | Daily reporter
GREENFIELD – There was a flurry of gossip at the Twenty North Gallery in downtown Greenfield on Saturday morning, as a group of Indianapolis elementary teachers painted peace poles as part of a team building.
The workshop was part of a day-long collaborative event between downtown merchants, who offered sidewalk sales and other special events to attract downtown shoppers.
Teachers started the day with breakfast at Lincoln Square Pancake House before heading to the gallery, where they painted colorful wooden poles to decorate their school’s learning garden.
Jenny Fain, who lives in Zionsville, said she was happy to have the chance to visit downtown Greenfield for the first time.
“It seems to be a very welcoming and intimate city,” she said.
Lisa Robinson and Sally Mitchell were also happy to be out on the road on Saturday. Friends and neighbors, who live just north of Greenfield, made it a day, shopping at several stores and stopping for lunch at The Grind.
Robinson said it was the perfect way to spend an overcast Saturday afternoon.
“I wanted to come here, but didn’t get a chance,” she said, as she and Mitchell browsed through the merchandise at The Gilded Nest.
Store owners Jamie Cook and Mary Schuck hosted the downtown event on Saturday after reaching out to other merchants.
“We don’t have a parking lot (near the store), so we created pop-ups all the time to attract customers,” Schuck said. “We started chatting with other traders and wondered why we wouldn’t all do it on the same day to attract a lot more people downtown.”
An influx of customers is especially welcome after a particularly difficult year for small businesses, she said, when many traders struggled to stay afloat throughout the pandemic.
Colleagues retailers and restaurateurs quickly joined in on Saturday’s event and even got marketing help from Greenfield Main Street, the non-profit organization responsible for promoting the historic downtown and its shopping district.
Charlie Vetters, owner of Organic Robot custom screen printing store, created an online map accessible by a QR code to help shoppers find their way from store to store.
Vetters was among the merchants who put the products on the sidewalk under a tent on Saturday, despite the rain.
Beneath his mask, he was all smiles as the guests passed through the day.
Vetters praised his fellow merchants and Greenfield Main Street for coming together to promote the downtown shopping district and each other.
Schuck echoed this sentiment, saying there was a lot of camaraderie and mutual support among local traders.
“It was so much fun working with other companies. They tell customers where to find us and we’ll tell our customers where to find them. It was awesome, ”she said.
Vetters said community support for small businesses has been phenomenal, especially as the economy has been hit hard over the past year.
“When the stimulus checks came out, I had two moms who came with their kids who said they wanted to use their checks for local shopping, so they came to buy some shirts,” Vetters said, which opened its store in November.
Schuck and Cook also marveled at the amount of community support available to them.
They opened their store last June at 16A N. State St., in the space just north of Main Street that previously housed restaurants like Hey Cafe, Little Italy, and Soup Herb.
Longtime friends – who only sell merchandise from Indiana vendors, most of whom are from Hancock County – are thankful that the community has been so welcoming and responsive.
Vetters feels the same. He knew it would be difficult to open in the midst of the pandemic, but said he couldn’t pass up the lavishly furnished retail space at 113 W. Main St. when it became available.
He got creative to generate sales.
Earlier this month, Vetters hosted a local group of teenage musicians, who performed for an hour in his shop while he printed t-shirts with the band’s name on them for fans. At the end of the night, he gave the group a share of the profits.
He often prints shirts for on-site events, as he recently did for a beer at the Wooden Bear Brewing Co., and he invited nonprofits to his shop to talk about their organizations with the public. , who in turn may want to buy shirts and other merchandise to support them.
“When I opened, I made the decision to set aside a percentage of my profits to local charities. I want to support the community that supports me, ”he said.