What’s coming next?
The three eaglets have left the nesting area. No more screeching noises at mealtime. I’m covering my garden’s red “gems” at night to stretch the ripening season. The woods seem to be so quiet. There’s smoke in the air. On a personal note, my family experienced quite a loss with my dad’s recent passing. It all makes me stop and pause.
Is it time to listen to what’s coming next?
Our beautiful hanging flower baskets will soon be removed from the downtown streetscape. What a special treat it was to admire their lush beauty!
The new banners are up! It’s just the start of a multi-year program to lead visitors to the center of our community. Future banner installations are planned along Lincoln Street, Stevens Street and Kemp to Sutliff streets.
Our downtown is reminiscing and celebrating summer successes like the Second Saturday in June Car Show, the July 4th Parade and Creative Arts Walk. Something new this summer was the Wednesday Downtown Market. We’re all familiar with the Saturday Hodag Farmers’ Market at Pioneer Park. Well, this year the Hodag Farmers’ Market expanded its market on Wednesdays in downtown. Eight Wednesdays-July through August were market days. The farmers displayed and sold their locally grown fruits, vegetables and more. DRI hosted some live musical performers, lunches by Lynn’s Catering, free popcorn-all in the beautiful garden area on the corner of Brown and Rives. Each week a community group set up for visibility to its cause. Thanks to Sally Latimer, Sue Schneider, Lynn Messinger and Diane DeiRossi for a job well-done-what a team!
What else is next?
Every successful Main Street (and for that matter most all ventures) requires good internal and external communication. DRI will be launching quarterly merchant meetings. The purpose of the meetings is networking and information sharing with an opportunity to discuss common issues. All business owners are encouraged to participate. Our first merchant meeting is on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 8 a.m., at Hext Theater, in the lower level of the Brown Street Mall. Hope to see you there!
Consumer surveys are in. During the summer months we polled customers of 21 downtown businesses. “Tell us about your Downtown Rhinelander Experience” was the theme. A full report of the results will be available at the Sept. 20 merchant meeting, and will be published. Topics ranged from downtown parking, variety of shopping, hours of operation and overall experience while downtown.
Business operator surveys are being launched. Nicolet College intern Craig Turk is leading the effort with the help of the Economic Restructuring Committee. All 200 downtown businesses will be asked to fill out our confidential survey that should take only 15-20 minutes. The data will be most valuable to help our businesses grow and thrive.
And what about Hodags on Parade?
Yes, you’ve heard it right! Someone will WIN a Hodag! Now’s the time to get your raffle tickets to win one of the seven-foot long Hodags from Hodags on Parade. The traditional green Hodag is sitting on Brown Street right next to the Rhinelander Cafè & Pub. That’s the one we’re giving away. It was artistically embellished by Rhinelander resident Linda Gilbert Ferczacca. Tickets are $5 each, or three for $10. You don’t have to be present to win. The drawing is the same date as the auction, Saturday, Nov. 12. (If you’re not sure where you’d put the Hodag if you won it, we know a few educational institutions that would love one!)
Hope you’ve had a chance to see all five Hodags in downtown! They will be out and about during the fall season, so you have more time. Tickets to win a Hodag can be purchased at Trig’s, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rhinelander Cafè & Pub.
We are putting out a call to anyone who would like to help with the Hodags on Parade auction. Give us a call at DRI, if you would like to be part of the fun!
Every now and then I hear a screech, and I see the young eagle. The tomatoes slowly turn red (or orange). Occasionally I might hear chatter in the woods. Memories of dad fill my heart. We take steps into the future one step at a time.
Sue Bessert is available at the Rhinelander Main Street office, located at 21A S. Brown St. Call her at (715) 362-7374, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.