By Kasey Worst
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer
OLD TOWN LANSING – Special promotions around Valentine’s Day helped to bring new business to Old Town.
The Chocolate Walk
Louise Gradwohl, executive director of the Old Town Commercial Association, said a new event called the Chocolate Walk brought a new group of people to Old Town the Wednesday before Valentine’s Day.
Gradwohl said participants bought tickets and exchanged them for a punch card and a box for chocolates from the Old Town Commercial Association. They took these boxes to 18 different places in Old Town and collected a chocolate from each one.
Gradwohl said the OTCA had intended to sell 175 tickets to the event. It sold 177.
“It was kind of a nice way to expose people to different businesses that they may not have really gone into,” Gradwohl said.
Barbara Hamm, an artist at Great Lakes Artworks and adjunct professor at MSU who participated in the Chocolate Walk, had not believed the event would attract many people. She said she was surprised when, although it was cold and the walk was on a Wednesday evening, the event sold out.
Summer Schriner’s business Grace Boutique was a stop on the Chocolate Walk.
“It was really successful,” Schriner said. “Especially for having been the first year of the event.”
David Gregware, owner of Tallulah’s Folly, agreed.
“It was a really good way to get people touring Old Town, seeing shops they possibly hadn’t seen before,” said Gregware.
Gregware said Valentine’s Day, and the two days before it, were very busy for his store. The Old Town Commercial Association also promoted Tallulah’s Folly on its webpage for Valentine’s Day.
Gregware said his store had its own promotion on Thursday called Wine and Design. Participants learned how to make floral arrangements, and could bring wine to the activity. He said 12 people came to this event.
“That worked out really well for people to take them home for their Valentine for Friday,” Gregware said.
This winter’s snow and ice storms, said Gregware, hurt sales in Old Town. He also said he wasn’t sure how much Valentine’s Day shopping and promotions helped other businesses recover; however, it helped his flower shop.
Summer Schriner did not think Valentine’s Day shopping made up for losses from the ice storms.
“Valentine’s Day is one of those expected times of year,” Schriner said. “So if you’re already planning on it, it doesn’t make up for the loss of before.”
Louise Gradwohl said she thought the promotions did help Old Town recover.
“I mean, nothing like holiday sales, like, the amount of money you spend in the holidays verses now is substantial,” Gradwohl said. “But I think it definitely helped, and I think more people will return throughout the year to our shops and our festivals.”
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