Shopping. Dancing. Eating. Drinking.
Those are the ingredients as shopping centers across the metro gear up for another season of special, and mostly free, events.
Aside from bringing the community together, hosting special events is a way to get merchants exposure and ring up the sales, said Molly Skold, marketing director for East Campus Realty, which manages Midtown Crossing near 31st and Farnam Streets.
And it works.
Joe Rosner, general manager of Crave at 200 S. 31st Ave, said events like Jazz on the Green, a free summer concert series at Turner Park, mean spillover traffic for his restaurant.
“Without a doubt we see at least a minimum of a 30 percent increase in sales,” he said. “These events directly benefit our business.”
Michelle Massey, manager and buyer for the Afternoon at Midtown adjusts the store's hours to accommodate the events.
“All of these events really help drive traffic to a retail location like ours,” she said. “These events are fantastic for small retailers.”
During a November fireworks show, Massey recalled her store being “wall-to-wall people.”
It's the same story for Luvbird Boutique at Aksarben Village near 67th and Center Streets. Owner Shan Stavropoulos said the shopping center's events have brought her regulars and more exposure from people who never knew her clothing and accessories boutique existed.
“I'm really thankful for these events,” she said.
Lisa Bockman, marketing and events coordinator at Noddle Cos., which manages Aksarben Village, said that at last year's tenant meeting everyone's message was: Keep the events coming.
Here's a look at some of the events planned:
>> Aksarben Village's Saturdays at Stinson Park concert series will start this weekend with Taxi Driver from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Other bands scheduled include the Confidentials, Marcos & Sabor, ShurThing and Fish Heads. Aksarben Village also will host fundraising walks, festivals and art fairs.
>> Midtown Crossing's “Sight. Sound. Summer 2012” lineup includes the “Architects of Air” exhibit June 23-30; Family Day June 24, Yoga Rocks the Park on Sundays at 4 p.m. starting May 27; and Jazz on the Green on Thursdays at 7 p.m. starting July 12.
>> Shadow Lake Towne Center in Papillion will kick off its sixth season of “The Sounds of Summer” Friday night concert series beginning May 25. The free series features live bands from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Alegent Health Amphitheatre stage in center court. Bands scheduled include Lemon Fresh Day, Chris Saub, Urban Groove Project and Taxi Driver.
>> Village Pointe Shopping Center near 168th Street and West Dodge Road will have the ninth season of the Vibes at Village Pointe Saturday evening summer concert series beginning May 26 and running through Aug. 25. The free series features live bands from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Alegent Health Amphitheatre stage in center court. Bands scheduled include the Confidentials, Taxi Driver and On the Fritz.
Also, the second annual Village Pointe Wine Festival will be held June 8-9 and will include sampling of more than 100 wines.
Oolala! A trunk show
If you like to wear one-of-a-kind fashions, Oolala! L.A. Boutique near Nebraska Highway 370 and 72nd Street in Papillion is hosting a special “trunk show” for you. On Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., get a sneak peek at exclusive designs from brands such as Young, Fabulous & Broke, Desigual and Wildfox Couture.
To reserve a seat call the store at 402-614-7779. A $50 deposit is required, but it goes toward your purchase for the night.
Steak orders aid troops
Omaha Steaks is sponsoring a Salute Our Troops campaign throughout May. Ten percent of sales of specially created Omaha Steaks packages will be donated to the Armed Forces Foundation.
Packages are available by calling 800-228-9055, online at www.omahasteaks.com or at one of the company's more than 80 retail stores nationwide.
Treats at candy store
Love chocolate and need a night of pampering? Or still deciding on a Mother's Day gift?
Check out the free “Ladies Night Out” event at the Cordial Cherry near 180th and Pacific Streets on May 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., hosted by owner Melissa Stephens to thank customers and celebrate the store's one-year anniversary at the new location..
The chocolate store will host a night of chocolate sampling, spa treatments, music and shopping from a variety of local businesses including Purple Cane Road Root Beer, SPAzazz Traveling Day Spa and the Beer Bread Company. There also will be free giveaways and raffles to benefit a local charity.
Recycle at Staples
Hewlett-Packard and Staples are encouraging Nebraska consumers and small businesses to recycle responsibly with a new program that will accept a broad range of gadgets, regardless of where they were originally purchased or the brand.
Electronics can be dropped off and recycled for free at any Staples store. Staples has stores in Omaha, Lincoln, Fremont and Sioux City, Iowa.
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