December 3, 2008

Shop Downtown -- and get a gift from Rudolph!

If Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer chases you down Main Street tonight, don't run: Let him catch you!

He's got a special gift for the first 200 shoppers he catches.

Downtown merchants -- from Main Street and Sixth Street -- are working together again, making shopping locally an especially rewarding experience. Rudolph will be handing out snazzy red envelopes packed with an assortment of goodies from a variety of merchants. "This is going to be a valuable envelope, full of good stuff," said Jo Labre of Dover Flag and Map, who's been stuffing them all week.

Fifty-five Downtown Racine businesses have provided gift certificates or coupons that have been assembled into packets -- those red envelopes labeled "Shop Local, Shop Downtown Racine." Each envelope contains an assortment of 26 different enticements. Like:
● A certificate for a free piece of cheesecake from Cheesecakes by Jewels
● $5 gift certificates from Copacetic, Molly Magruder, Dover Flag & Map or Salute Italian Restaurant
● $10 gift certificates from Inside Out, Elegant Pauper or Jeff Shawhan pottery at Elements
● Buy one breakfast get one free at the Chancery
●$5 off framed or unframed art at Photographic Design
●15% off dinner at Sticky Rice Thai Restaurant
●20% off Santa's Special Selection at Plumb Gold Ltd.
●And much, much more!
The packets will be distributed to the first 200 lucky shoppers by Rudolph the Reindeer, tonight from 5 to 6 p.m. and on the following two Thursdays, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18.

Rudolph, by the way, is Doug Wick, owner of Common Scents. Wick adopted the character years ago as a mascot for his Pack 'n Ship business -- "Rudolph guides your packages" -- and has worn the costume to deliver packages to customers' houses, and in parades, events and caroling.

This Downtown promotion has been spearheaded by Labre, assisted by other merchants inspired by a marketing seminar in October at the Golden Rondelle, presented by Bob Negen of WhizBang Training. Negen's message, titled Turbocharge Your Sales, was focused on ways small merchants can get people into their stores and turn them into customers. In a nutshell, Negen said this would be a fun way to get new customers, and local merchants took his gift certificate advice to heart -- but Rudolph is their own idea!

Some two-dozen Downtown merchants already banded together to provide longer shopping hours between now and Christmas: they're staying open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Each of the participants will fly a big red flag (that's Jo Labre, who made them at Dover Flag, holding one, above) in front of their stores to let potential customers know they'll have longer hours and special offers.

The man behind ... um, inside Rudolph: Note carefully
the absence of Doug Wick's 14" ponytail, grown since 1993, recently
donated to a charity helping kids who've lost their hair to cancer


  1. Dang it Doug, that hair of yours donated? Arrgh! That was some mop. Well, you did it for a good cause and I love the idea of Rudolph. We only go downtown during the daytime hours so we won't be able to get a gift pak but it is a great idea!

  2. Congratulations on putting this promotion together!

    The future belongs to the people who get out there and make things happen and clearly that is all of you merchants in downtown Racine!

    Happy Holidays,

    Bob Negen

  3. Love the idea! Our local mostly downtown shops banded together with the radio station and the chamber of commerce and created Holiday Hometown Bingo. Everytime a customer spends $5 in the stores they get a box marked and when they have a bingo they get a chance to win prize packages every week full of gift cards to our stores and chamber of commerce gift certificates! The best part is all the winnings stay here because they are all gift cards to here!