Column: Chamber champions restaurant week, ladies night

A large 12-month calendar spans a wall at the Southington Chamber of Commerce office. It’s color-coded and specific to upcoming events, grand openings, networking meetings, workshops and more. It’s a masterpiece all in itself; a depiction of the life within our Chamber. It is indicative of the energy present in our office while we hustle to expand our ever growing brand and membership driven organization.

On any given day we can be found working on several different initiatives to enhance our members experience by creating opportunities for them to be seen by the market they desire; the public.

While winter is busy creating an environment effective only to those who know how to hibernate, we are busy planning, strategizing and implementing new and refreshed ideas so that even before the warm weather breezes in, we will have already executed and conducted two large scale events (in very different and similar respects) and will be sailing into spring with two boxes already checked. What I mean by different respects, is that one is a large expo held at a staple banquet facility in town which attracts and pulls attendees to it from all corners of the state, to the other which features multiple restaurants within our town lines and has the potential to drive new patrons to every table…

What are these events you ask? First up, Southington’s first ever “restaurant week.” That’s right. We have a record breaking number of independent restaurants in town and to think we have never highlighted them in this way before is astounding.

If you have never had the pleasure of participating in a restaurant week, let me give you a quick history lesson. Restaurant week originated in New York City in the early 1990s by partnering with their local chambers of commerce and quickly became a tradition in several cities across the country. Restaurants would put together a pre-determined menu at a fixed price point for both lunch and dinner.

Restaurants nationwide report that what they lose in sales, they make up for in increased foot traffic and return customers. Connecticut even has a whole website dedicated to helping promote its local restaurant weeks (connecticutrestaurantweek.com).

Southington will be hosting its first restaurant week starting Presidents’ Day (Feb. 19) and running through Feb. 25. Be sure to ask your favorite restaurant in town if they are participating.

As we wrap up restaurant week, we launch less than one week later into our grand event, “ladies night.” This large expo of businesses aimed at women’s likes and needs brings in vendors to showcase their products, services and offerings in a night of leisure and fun. Featuring swag bags to the first 100 people through the door, and businesses from jewelry, to boutique items, to health information geared towards women, to psychic readings and mini massages, it is a night to remember.

Held annually at the Aqua Turf, this event has women (and men) attending from a wide radius. The night also offers a “honey-do” auction where different male business owners offer a service their company provides to be bid on. Some of the previous years’ auction items have included spring cleanup, electrician services, power washing, and golf lessons. This year, the auction will be silent, and items advertised ahead of time to drum up attention.

There will be vendor raffles, food, adult beverages and more. Buy your tickets ahead of time online and take advantage of pre-sale pricing at www.southingtonchamber.com. Tickets will still be sold at the door the night of the event. Ladies night is Thursday, March 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Aqua Turf.

Taylor Crofton is the executive director of the Southington Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact her at (860) 628-8036 or Taylor@SouthingtonChamber.com.

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