4th of July shopping celebration to be held

Staff Report

After the success of the first Lucky Clover contest in March, Main Street Portsmouth is working with local business Western & Southern Life and employee Austin Johnson to replicate it this June and July.

After hearing of the March program, Austin Johnson, of Western and Southern Life, wanted to sponsor a second event that the community may enjoy, which developed into the 4th of July sales promotion. With the program, guests shopping downtown between June 30 to July 7 will be welcomed with an opportunity to earn $250 in gift cards for downtown restaurants, including Port City Café and Pub, Market Street Café, Fork and Finger, Portsmouth Brewery, Boneyfiddle Pie Factory and Patties and Pints. The shopping event works as a lottery system that rewards one of the participants with the gift cards. Shoppers will be given a card with a thematic 4th of July design and three spots for stickers. After spending at least $5 at a business, they will earn a sticker for their card. Once three are collected, they can leave their card with a participating business to be entered into the drawing. “We really like this event, because it gets people downtown, shopping at multiple businesses, checking out what these establishments and downtown have going on,” Main Street Portsmouth Director Joseph Pratt said. “We heard our favorite phrase last time we held this promotion. The “I didn’t know we had this downtown” is a very bittersweet phrase that we love to hear; they may have been missing out on what we have, but they definitely will be back.”

Pratt said the last promotion brought in an estimate of a couple thousand dollars to downtown businesses. “It wasn’t anything grand, but it was a very nice way to get people shop hopping or entering stores after the parade,” Pratt explained. “We didn’t have intentions of doing this in July, but Mr. Johnson of Western & Southern Life said that he loved our mission and our attempts to boost the small business economy. He offered to pay the cost for this event and also work with us to accomplish it in the busy summer months. We definitely wouldn’t be having this benefit to customers and business owners if not for them and their trust in us.”

Many community members participated, one being downtown loyalist Chip Maillet, owner of WIOI Radio, and his wife Ginger. Maillet praised the previous event, saying that he and Ginger shopped a good bit to get their stickers for both cards, having a fun day of shopping and talking with business owners.

“We are downtown a lot, but we found ourselves playing the game and shopping even more to gain entry into the raffle. It was fun and also nice to see so many extra people downtown enjoying themselves and see what our small businesses have to offer,” Maillet said. Johnson said it was the sentiment that Maillet, as well as many others, had which caused him to continue this event a second time. “I think it is important to give back to the community you serve,” Johnson said. “My friends and neighbors are very good to me and Western & Southern Life, so supporting them through work that benefits the small business community at the same time is a rewarding way for me to give back. I think the event is a great way to get people shopping and putting money into the pockets of hardworking locals. I am happy to help Main Street in their mission to create the downtown we all deserve.”

Johnson went on to say that he already feels happy with the program and his impact, because his investment went directly into prizes, which was income for the local restaurants downtown

Staff Report