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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Businesses to extend hours

Monday, February 22, 2010

Downtown merchants participating in the monthly Broadway Nights have decided to expand Friday hours for several months, host an art fair and work with a traveling carnival to enhance offerings on Broadway in the coming months.

Participants at a planning meeting for future Broadway Nights decided to expand on the later hours of business activity kept on the second Friday of the month. The business operators agreed to stay open until 7 p.m. every Friday from the Broadway Nights in March 12 to May 14.

Shaun Bennett,with Denali Dreams, said the suggestion had been made to stay open more often to provide more opportunities for employees at Monett businesses who get off work at 5 p.m. Fellow merchants liked the idea of a trial run on Fridays to expand on the opening offered by Broadway Nights.

Merchants agreed that staying up for two extra hours would give time for customers to shop, rather than running in to one specific store and leaving. It was decided 7 p.m. provided an adequate timeframe without running too late and showed the merchants were serious about committing to staying open.

"It's important to send the message out we're not going to let Broadway die," said Gail Brownsberger.

The February Broadway Nights had seen a lower turnout. Darlene Wolf, from The Front Page, said her business was actually better than previous occasions. The merchants agreed to try a consistent promotional strategy for the next Broadway Nights. A St. Patrick's Day theme was picked for March 12. The April 9 event will be focused about the federal tax deadline on April 15 and will be a tax free evening. Merchants will shift to the sales tax holiday mode and absorb the tax on all items sold.

On May 14 the merchants will host an art festival. Bennett said five local arts groups had agreed to help set up booth space for artists to show and sell their creations on the sidewalk. Some of the empty buildings on Broadway will be available as galleries for some exhibitors. The idea will be for the artists to attract customers for the downtown district.

Interest was also expressed in an offer Bennett received from a traveling carnival. The professional troupe will be heading from Texas to Iowa in May on the way to summer bookings in Wisconsin and other northern states. The organization was looking for a stop along the way.

Ten percent of earnings at the carnival would be donated to the merchant group for sponsoring the carnival. Revenues could be used to promote future Broadway Nights, Bennett said.

Carnival organizers wanted to set up on Broadway and the side streets. Merchants uniformly opposed blocking traffic. It was decided Front Street could provide a centrally accessible location that would still benefit the businesses.

The merchants decided to support the carnival's request, provided arrangements could be worked out with the city, references checked out and the group was not faced with serious liability issues. The carnival organizers would do their own promotion.

If arrangements could be worked out, the carnival would be in Monett during the weekend up the May Broadway Nights. The carnival would open on Thursday, May 15, and pack up on Sunday, May 16.

Merchants expressed continued support for the Broadway Nights strategy. Bennett suggested cross-advertising, such as placing products in store windows from other businesses. Bennett said he plans to bring some of the artifacts from the Stone Hotel, where he now lives over Denali Dreams, and display them, helping to promote a historic theme as well.

Participation in Broadway Nights remains a voluntary effort. Bennett said the group could not vote to force a business to stay open later, but all remain welcome to join in and take advantage of planned promotions.

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