HARTVILLE Small business owners in Hartville kicked of "Late Night Local" on April 5. More than a dozen shopkeepers will be staying open late on Thursday evenings until 8 p.m. through the end of summer.
Barb Wise owns the Best Bib & Tucker store in Hartville. She and her daughter, Megan Wise, watch webinars by a group called saveyour.town. One video in particular had an idea the Wises thought would be a good for the shops in downtown Hartville.
Last fall, they helped gather a local business group that included community members, Hartville Mayor Cindy Billings and local retailers to watch a webinar about making it more convenient for customers to shop. There was a consensus that one idea in particular could work for the retailers in Hartville.
"We all took the same message from the webinar that we watched which was we need to make it more convenient for our customers to shop," Megan Wise said. "We decided that we would start staying open late one evening a week and thought Thursday evenings would be best."
Tara Wiederman owns Modern Vintage in Hartville. The store has been open since 2012. Wiederman really liked the idea of opening one evening a week and thought the businesses in the area would be receptive to trying the idea.
"We know it will take some time to catch on, but we are excited about staying open late one evening a week. It should be a fun night to come out and shop," Wiederman said. "It’s stays daylight and is warmer past 8 p.m. in the summers plus shopping on Thursday evenings will free up time on the weekends to spend with family."
Wiederman said that staying open late is difficult for many of the small business lining the downtown area. Many stores are run by one or two shopkeepers while others such as Modern Vintage have six people.
Both Wiederman and the Wises believe that customers will make it a fun evening of shopping, running errands and then having dinner or getting a to-go order from one of the many local restaurants. Most of the eateries in Hartville are open late almost every night throughout the week.
The venture has turned into a collaborative project where the restaurants are handing out flyers for the late evening shopping to diners and the shop owners are handing out to-go menus from the restaurants to shoppers.
The many participating small businesses in Hartville offer home décor, antiques and vintage, pottery and jewelry, framing shops furniture, gifts and much more. Shoppers can get a list of shops staying open late from any one of the stores lining Prospect Avenue in Hartville.