Inaugural egg hunt downtown delivers a shop-local message in plastic eggs.
By Local First Arizona guest writer, Betsey Bruner
Canary yellow. Ultramarine blue. Royal purple. Ballerina pink.
Are these perhaps the colors of Easter? Yes, in fact they are some of the colors of the plastic eggs that are filled with goodies and given to children at Eastertime.
But now more than 250 of these oval wonders are serving a more adult purpose: As eggs in the first-ever “Shop Indie EGGstravaganza” campaign that features eight days of Easter eggs hunts by grown-ups designed to promote the goods and services in Flagstaff’s locally-owned business community.
“The Easter campaign is a fun and exciting way to deliver a real important and serious message,” said Moran Henn, director of Friends of Flagstaff’s Future. “Where and how we shop directly influences the character of our town. There is no greater action that we can take to support a stable local economy than shopping locally owned.”
The event started Saturday and continues each morning this week as volunteers hide the colorful eggs downtown in both inside and outside locations.
Shoppers can hunt for the eggs, some of which will contain $20 gift certificates that can be redeemed in at the 20 participating businesses.
Eggs without gift certificates still contain chocolates and handouts about shop-local initiatives.
All of the participating businesses are members in at least one of the following groups that are sponsoring the event: Local First Arizona, Flagstaff Independent Business Alliance (FIBA) and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future (F3).
The shop-local week will culminate on Saturday, April 19 at the Earth Day celebrations at Flagstaff City Hall on West Aspen Avenue.
A full range of activities are scheduled from 11:30 to 4 p.m., including live entertainment, workshops on topics like “backyard chicken keeping,” as well as the last stage in the EGGstravaganza hunt.
Lisa Lamberson, general manager of Mountain Sports Flagstaff, said the event will reflect the “flavor and charm of our Mountain Town.”
She has been working on organizing the campaign with a tight-knit group of volunteers.
“It is wonderful working together with fellow local merchants to create a fun activity for the community, while raising awareness of the importance of supporting local merchants,” she said.
Lamberson said the egg-hunt concept came out of a model developed by Clare Rayner, a respected retail consultant in Great Britain who advises retailers through her Retail Champion business.
She said Mountain Sports ran a Christmas Crawl, another shop indie event late last year that was very successful and featured 14 different businesses that shoppers could visit with a chance to win $100 gift certificates.
Meg Williams Jamison, northern Arizona director of Local First Arizona, said local businesses are very important.
“Local businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy, and we are striving to collaboratively create projects and programs that support and strengthen them, “ she said. “Educating the public about how they can be a part of this ‘buy-local movement’ is an important part of this process.”
Jamison said the “Shop Indie EGGstravaganza” will be an important part of this effort.
This shop indie promotion will likely be a fun activity for the whole family.
Although the egg hunt is primarily adult-oriented, children are invited to help their parents or other older family members in the hunt for eggs.
Clues about where the eggs are hidden will be posted at the Flagstaff Shop Indie Facebook page.
Photo credit: From right, Eilise Fisher, “chief fizzicist” at Fizzy Bella bath boutique, Moran Henn, director of F3, Katy Peterson, owner of Flagstaff Sports Exchange, Lisa Lamberson, general manager of Mountain Sports, and Hadassah Ziegler, customer service at Rooftop Solar, hold some of the eggs and other promotional materials that are being used during the inaugural EGGstravaganza event downtown.
Photo by Betsey Bruner/Words & Images