Lake Placid’s first Holiday Village Stroll was held over the weekend — it’s a great concept and should be held every year. With some tweaking, organizers will be able to build on the success each and every year.
One of the goals of the event planners, which was primarily composed of the Lake Placid Business Association, hotel and restaurant managers, was to stimulate more local and regional shoppers to visit Lake Placid. The concept of the Village Stroll is great, and hopefully organizers will heed the information listed to make it an even better event with each passing year.
First, there was plenty of publicity for the event in local media, and there were brochures distributed and made available throughout the village, which was extremely important. Also, the Holiday Skating Party with free skate rentals at the Olympic Center in the 1932 Rink was a spectacular move.
Having Santa listed as part of the festivities is always a good draw, and visitors seemed to enjoy the overall atmosphere. For the most part, the stroll was a great success. However, it appeared as though not all shopkeepers took advantage of the stroll, and one store worker even commented on the planning of the event in regard to local shops.
The Holiday Village Stroll brochure would be more informative if it listed what businesses were participating. The brochure simply said that from 3 to 5 p.m., “local stores will have special events and promotions.” But walking from store to store, the participating shops and their specials were not always clearly identified. Most of the time, shoppers had to exhibit enough curiosity to ask if the store was participating. Several businesses said the only “special” was the $5 lift ticket discount offered by Whiteface Mountain if $50 was spent at the store.
Future strolls should promote in advance what is being offered and any specials or services to create more of a draw, especially if the event is intended to promote shopping on Main Street. With CanAm in town, it was hard to figure how many shoppers were part of that event, but signs with the CanAm logo are visible in shop windows each week. Perhaps next year, a similar logo should be designed for the Village Stroll so that visitors will easily see that that business is taking part in the event and what the special values are.
Overall, the Holiday Village Stroll appears to have been a success, but perhaps in years to come, more businesses will jump on board and realize the holiday event is a fabulous opportunity to boost sales. With a tough economy and bleak forecast, every little bit can help.