The Downtown Statesboro Development Authority / Main Street Statesboro wins 2012 Georgia Downtown Awards of Excellence for Promotions: Best Retail Booster for the Statesboro Wedding Walk F1RST Friday event.
Executive Director for the DSDA Allen Muldrew received the award from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs at the 2012 Georgia Downtown Conference held on August 22. The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor outstanding achievements of local downtown development and revitalization organizations.
The DSDA office is committed to the economic development and the success of its businesses. “We have a strong wedding market downtown and we want to attract shoppers and generate revenue” said Allen Muldrew. There are three wedding boutiques, fine men’s and woman’s apparel store, jewelry, music, stationary and photographers available to help in the planning process. These businesses are incorporated in all of the F1RST Friday events, but Mainstreet has never solely focused on them. The idea of a Wedding Expo and Fashion Show was introduced to bring committed bride face-to-face with the seller.
The Statesboro Wedding walk is held the F1RST Friday of February and is only made possible through the generous support and collaboration of the DSDA partners. The expo and fashion show was held in two locations: the Quality Inn and Suites and The Averitt Center for the Arts. Both locations donated the use their space free of charge in return for promotion as wedding venues. Other gifts in kind helped with décor, tables, prizes, sound and advertising. As a result of strategic budgeting, the DSDA was able to provide a lucky bride with a $1000 cash grand prize.
All of the advertising included the grand prize money to attract regional brides and their families. Various radio ads, cable ads, press releases and flyers were used to reach every available market, demographic and potential consumer. In addition to these paid advertisements, these organizations volunteered at the event and contributed extra in kind advertisements. The Statesboro Magazine sold $12,443.54 in ads for the 2012 Wedding Walk insert in their January /February issue. To date, they have sold $10,000.00 for the 2013 wedding magazine.
As part of promotions the DSDA incorporated a flash mob, an innovative and attractive marketing tool, to help raise awareness of the event. Frills by Scott, one of our premier downtown bridal boutiques donated wedding dresses for volunteers to participate. Nine volunteers including Georgia Southern University students gathered the night before the event and were escorted in a De Loach limousine (also a gift in kind) to several popular college restaurants and bars to distribute flyers. By the end of the night, each volunteer bride received marriage proposals. The flash mob was the talk of the town; it was mentioned on Facebook and Twitter by spectators.
Between the Bridal Expo and the Fashion Show the Averitt Center for the Arts held a Gallery Social in their main gallery. Free samples of food and beverages greeted people as they waited to watch the Fashion show. Brides were able to mingle with each other while sharing ideas, experiences and love stories. This portion of our event highlighted the Art Center gallery and showed upcoming brides a charming wedding venue.
In order to effectively pull off an event of this magnitude, the DSDA enlisted the help of two wedding coordinators. The First, Shannon Edwards not only hosted the fashion Show but was the main coordinator in charge of the Bridal Expo, Gallery Social, organized the placement all 50 vendors in the Quality Inn and Suites ballroom and the Averitt Center for the Arts main gallery. The DSDA attracted local businesses as well as regional vendors. All vendors were given a 10X10 space to present their products and services. Each bride received a sash at the registration table so the vendors could sell directly to them. According to Doodle Bugs, a downtown stationary store, the bridal expo produced six potential clients and generated approximately $1000 in sales. “The Expo was so successful that we reached full capacity and now have to look for a larger venue” said Allen Muldrew.
The second planner, a Fashion Merchandising major from Georgia Southern University, Allison Gould was in charge of the Fashion Show. She coordinated the clothing sets with each store, recruited models and directed all backstage production and entertainment acts. A backstage crew prepared 50 models for the runway. Hairstylist and makeup artists donated their time to ensure all models looked their best; models wore evening wear, rehearsal dinner wear, tuxedos, bridesmaid’s gowns, wedding dresses and lingerie.
Before the fashion show, a local DJ, Benji Lewis showcased his talents to the crowd of over 250 attendants. Entertainment for the evening included a downtown Helen Redding School of Dance, Euphoria a Georgia Southern dance team and Trevor Darden a solo artist. Additionally, there were raffle drawings donated by over 30 sponsors. These prizes included salon gift certificates, gift baskets, photography, tanning and makeup. The names of the registered brides in attendance were place in a basket. A total of 10 randomly selected finalists anxiously awaited in hopes their name would be called for the $1000 grand prize. The anticipation kept all brides engaged throughout the show.
The DSDA/MSS has accomplished something grand in our community. The growing partnerships with local businesses, media contacts and volunteers have created synergy throughout downtown. Our region looks forward to increasing the size of the Statesboro Wedding Walk Expo and Fashion Show event and sharing a memorable experience with future brides.
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