01/31/13 6:00pm
01/31/2013 6:00 PM

MardiGras

The Mardi Gras party planned for Feb. 9 to help promote business in Greenport village during its slower season was cancelled, according to event organizer Rena Wilhelm, who also owns the White Weathered Barn on Front Street.

“I just couldn’t sell the tickets,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “There were people online saying they were going, but nobody was buying the tickets and I couldn’t risk it. I needed to sell at least a 100 and there were only 13.”

Proceeds from the event would have benefitted the North Fork Education Initiative, which creates educational programs and opportunities that focus on the arts, environment and community, according to the event’s blog.

“It was a great idea, I just needed help and a little more collaboration, but it wasn’t happening,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “I’m disappointed more people didn’t get involved, but I’m also relieved because I was taking it on all myself. This was the point to get excited about something, but I only had three of the same merchants get involved that tend to volunteer for everything and I couldn’t get anyone to post it to their Facebook or share it. It’s sad because the village has a real potential for greatness.”

She said she’d already lost a couple hundred dollars preparing for the event before decorations even came into play.

“I would have love to have it next year,” she said. “I think if I had more people helping and the costs involved weren’t as high as they were it would become a really successful event.”

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12/10/12 10:00am
12/10/2012 10:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Santa and Mrs. Claus visited Greenport Sunday. Village businesses will be offering specials beginning Thursday that correspond with the song “12 Days of Christmas.”

How can you turn a Christmas carol into a shopping promotion?

That’s what White Weathered Barn owner Rena Wilhelm is figuring out this holiday season through her campaign called “Greenport’s 12 Days of Christmas.”

From Dec. 13 until Christmas Eve, village shops, galleries, restaurants and bars will be offering specials that correspond with traditional holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Thinking of a “shop local” event, Ms. Wilhelm wanted to create a promotional project that all businesses could contribute to in an effort to increase downtown foot traffic this month.

“The fun part is to see how creative the businesses get,” she said. “It should be fun.”

Following Hurricane Sandy, many business owners showed their holiday spirit by offering a helping hand to neighbors in need, said Ms. Wilhelm.

Docks in the harbor at the end of Main Street were strewn about during the storm and the water reached shops on Front Street. Several downtown businesses have remained closed since, including the Greenport Eatery and Butta’Cakes, which is in the process of reopening later this month as a baja-style restaurant called “Butta’ Ritos.”

“In light of what happened, we’re all pulling together,” Ms. Wilhelm said. She said the holiday promotion has gained popularity since the storm and many businesses have created their own special offers based on their interpretations of the song.

For example, Noah’s restaurant will offer a red wine poached pear drink to coincide with the “first” day of Christmas, which is “a partridge in a pear tree.”

Chef and owner Noah Schwartz said he decided to take part in the promotion because he liked the creative element.

“Anything that will help the community, especially during the off-season, we want to participate in,” he said.

Some business have decided to offer sales throughout the 12 days, rather than choose just one day from the song. The Greenporter Hotel’s promotion is $89 per night accommodations. Vines and Branches is offering a 10 percent discount, a free gift with any $75 or more purchase and a Groupon gift basket special.

Participating businesses are listed in the event’s promotional materials, but Ms. Wilhelm said it doesn’t list all the individual holiday offers.

“You won’t know what someone is offering until that day,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “Each day is a surprise.”

For more information, visit the “Greenport’s 12 Days of Christmas” Facebook page.

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