Officials seek local businesses to rally behind township celebrations

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Old Chicago in Haslett is one of a group of local businesses in partnership with the township. Image: Steven Maier.

Steven Maier

Old Chicago in Haslett is one of a group of local businesses in partnership with the township. Image: Steven Maier.

Even with local businesses are getting on board with Meridian Township’s push to host a myriad of events throughout the year, officials are still looking for more.

The ongoing celebration of the 175th anniversary of the township features a range of festivities – from a pancake breakfast in March to guided cemetery tours in October. An event calendar can be found on the township’s site.

Meridian Township communications director and anniversary chair Deborah Guthrie said these events “cannot happen without sponsorship.”

Guthrie and other officials have been trying to find that sponsorship locally – knocking on doors and sending letters to every business in the township. Many of those businesses did not understand the scope of project, but more businesses are hopping aboard as more events are taking place, Guthrie said.

Old Chicago in Haslett is one of those recently intrigued businesses. They contacted Guthrie looking to contribute something to the festivities.

“Having them reach out to us is a great example of how businesses have embraced what we’re doing,” Guthrie said.

Even so, Guthrie said, the township is still looking for more partners.

A scene from the anniversary celebration at the capitol on Feb. 16. Image: Steven Maier.

Steven Maier

A scene from the anniversary celebration at the capitol on Feb. 16. Image: Steven Maier.

On Feb. 16 the township hosted a joint celebration with Delhi Township at the state capitol building to mark the actual day of the anniversary. The two townships were created on that same date in 1842.

Old Chicago ran a special that day – 20 percent of sales from customers who mentioned the anniversary were donated to the township. Those funds will be used to finance anniversary events.

Forty percent of the patrons that day participated in the offer, allowing the event to raise $400 for the township. Local radio station Q106 ran a mobile broadcast booth from the restaurant in the afternoon to promote the event, Guthrie said.

This was Old Chicago general manager Adam Bailey’s first time participating in community fundraising. He said they had been aiming to raise at least $500, but he thought the event was still successful.

“There was a lot of positive feedback that I received from the community,” Bailey said. “We’re definitely going to be doing more in the future.”

Both Guthrie and Bailey said the two parties are looking to work together more often. The promotion was profitable on both ends, driving sales on an otherwise slow day, Bailey said.

Bake N’ Cakes in Lansing donated a cake for the event. They often donate cakes to events attended by Q106 and receive radio advertising in return, said manager April Bogdanski.

The bakery has a “hefty budget for donations” – 20 percent of their gross income. They like to stay involved around town and accept almost every donation request within reason, Bogdanski said.

“There’s only so many small businesses around here so we like to be tight-knit with the community,” Bogdanski said.

Bake N’ Cakes does not have a direct partnership with Meridian Township.

Bailey said the partnership experience with the township has been a learning experience, and will hopefully lead to further community involvement. He dropped off fliers to local schools, churches and Girl Scout troops a few weeks ago inviting them to partner with Old Chicago, he said.