Shop Local – Customer Appreciation Events Edition

Shopping local is key to a thriving community. As a way of saying “Thank you” to their customers, the following local businesses are having customer appreciation days this week.

Cielo Luxury Shoe Boutique – Located at 328 West Jennings Street in Newburgh, this unique store is hosting a Birthday Soiree on Wednesday, September 25 from 5-8 p.m. They are offering door prizes, refreshments and sneak peeks at new designs. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

MaryLena Boutique – Another local favorite of mine will be open later to help Cielo celebrate on Wednesday. MaryLena has clothing & accessories that are classy, yet stylish. Sarah, the owner, will always greet you with a smile and go the extra mile to make sure you are satisfied. Be sure to like their Facebook page to stay up to date on all sales and events.

Evansville ARC – The 60th Anniversary Open House Celebration is on Wednesday. It starts with a proclomation at 10 a.m., followed by refreshments and tours until 11:30. They will then re-open from 4-6 p.m. to welcome evening guests. Help them honor the past and celebrate the new look of ARC.

Thyme in the Kitchen – Venture over to the ever growing, always popular Franklin Street to check out the Fall Fun Shopping Event. The event runs from 4-7 p.m. The event includes appetizers, wine & cocktails, product demonstrations and special in-store discounts. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for your chance to win a “Family to Go” entrée from Culinary Innovation by Chef April Boeke. 

Shop local logo

Why shop local?

  • Small businesses accounted for 65% of all net new jobs over the past 17 years.
  • Small businesses employ 77 million Americans.
  • 89% of consumers agree that independent businesses contribute positively to local economies.
  • Residential neighborhoods served by a successful independent business district gained, on average, 50% more in home values than their citywide markets.
  • Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains.

Keep It Local – CMOE

Far too often, I hear people in Evansville complain that there is nothing to do in our city. With my new mantra of “Engage. Encourage. Experience,” I hope to silence the critics and show the Tri-State some of our hidden gems with a blog series, “12 Days of Local.” What better time than the holiday season to encourage “keeping it local”?

Being a former preschool educator and advocate, I started my journey at the Koch Family Children’s Museum, aka “CMOE” to the children of the Tri-State area. Rather than look like a creepy old lady and explore by myself, I took my five year old nephew Collin. Sure, I could review it as a former teacher, but what better reviewer than the target demo? There is no one more honest than a child.

Best sign in Evansville!

Best sign in Evansville!

We arrived shortly after CMOE opened and were promptly greeted by a young cashier who asked if we had been there before. Collin instantly replied, “I have but she hasn’t.” The young lady quickly responded by asking what his favorite parts were and if he felt comfortable “showing me the ropes.” He grinned, high-fived her and said, “I got this.” She laughed and said, “You’re my official tour guide.” The manner in which she engaged him made the check-in process much easier for both adult and child.

Ready to see our first exhibit, we went to the “Quack Factory,” which in my opinion is one of the better exhibits at any children’s museum in the Midwest.

Lower level of the Quack Factory

Lower level of the Quack Factory

Starting at the Wet Deck, I knew we were in for a good time. CMOE provides water boots and jackets for the children. Unfortunately for Collin, I failed to see the wet gear until after he fell into the “ball wash.” Luckily, the staff showed me where the t-shirts were and for a mere $10, I was able to get him a new one, which doubled as a souvenir. Bonus points for the price – most attractions in the area are higher priced. We returned to the Wet Deck and studied cause and effect, how water flows, density and rhythms without incident.

Ball wash

Poor Collin got an early bath here.

Next up was Speak Loud. This area offers an array of activities, such as face painting, performing arts, drawing, literacy activities and a hands-on music area. In the span of thirty minutes, Collin was a cinematographer, an actor in “Three Billy Goats Gruff”, a Ninja Turtle and a rockstar. All the activities were monitored by a member of the staff who was close enough to supervise, but far enough away to let the children explore the areas by themselves. Extra kudos went to the staff who saw parents struggling with how to play and modeled ways to engage.

Face crayons that were easy to wash = Excellent!

Face crayons that were easy to wash = Excellent!

Acting as the biggest goat, waiting his turn.

Acting as the biggest goat, waiting his turn.

Downstairs there was a traveling exhibit, showing how things are made. We assembled a neighborhood trolley, similar to the ones that used to run on Main Street, found out how molds are made for footballs and designed our own bowls to take home. After we colored the bowls, a staff member put them in a machine and explained to us how it was formed into a bowl shape. Collin asked him several questions, all of which he took the time to answer and made sure Collin understood what he was saying. He even asked Collin to make an extra bowl for my niece, who was not with us that day. Again, the staff went the extra mile for us.

Reminds me of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

Reminds me of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

To finish our day, we ended up in the Work Smart area. Here we built Lego cars, which we then raced. This reminded me of the SoapBox Derby cars we used to make as a kid. By trying new designs to beat my car, Collin was learning about aerodynamics and cause/effect without even realizing it. We built a bridge, using metal connectors and rods, which we tested with our own weight. Finally, we developed our fine motor skills by digging in the crystals, looking for items. Again, learning without effort.

Collin built "me".

Collin built “me”.

If you have never been to CMOE, I highly encourage you to visit soon. From the minute you walk in the door, the staff is friendly and encouraging. They go the extra mile to make sure you have an enjoyable experience. Make sure you visit their website to see the Gingerbread House event this Saturday, too. You won’t be disappointed!