Kewaunee County shop hop hopes to draw visitors from across the Midwest
ALGOMA – Like most business owners, Pat Bell and Rhonda Pamperin hold occasional special events to draw visitors to their shops.
But next weekend, the event they're holding is meant to draw visitors to shops across Kewaunee County and elsewhere in Northeast Wisconsin, and they hope to expand to greater horizons in the future.
Bell and Pamperin are organizers of the Lake to Bay Spring Shop Hop taking place at 29 shops offering arts and crafts, clothing and accessories, antiques, home décor, food and drink, body care items and more from June 11 to 13.
During the hours of the hop, participating businesses are offering specials for customers, ranging from discounts on sales to raffles, prize drawings and refreshments. Most of the 29 participating locations are in Kewaunee County, but others are in Green Bay, New Franken, Dyckesville, Denmark, Mishicot and Sturgeon Bay.
The variety of shops on the roster for this hop is noteworthy, as well as the range of locations in the region. Most similar events are set in a smaller area and with a narrower focus on the types of businesses.
"We have galleries, restaurants, a restaurant/coffee shop, craft shops, wineries. We are open to everything under the sun," Bell said. "What we found out is, people want the variety."
It's not the first go-around with a shop hop for Bell, owner and artist at The Downstairs Attic, an art and décor shop on State 29 in Luxemburg, or Pamperin, who operates Lilac Shanty gift shop and retreat in Dyckesville. They held their first Lake to Bay hop with a handful of other businesses last October and another with nine participants in March. Bell also has experience with event planning from her years in the corporate world prior to retirement and opening her gallery in late 2018.
So, after two smaller hops, Bell found local shops were very interested in being part of the June event when she contacted them. The idea has been so popular, in fact, that Bell said she's already putting together a waiting list for businesses who want to take part in coming hops planned for October and November — although she also emphasizes she'd love to take more calls for those.
"I started doing some calling, and it just snowballed," Bell said. "Businesses are eager to get people out of their homes and out shopping. When I asked if they were interested, they said, 'heck yeah!'"
Bell said she thinks one reason businesses are interested in taking part is to kickstart their traffic for the summer as the COVID-19 pandemic, which she said "… hurt all of us," seems to wind down. She added that drawing shoppers to the area would be good for all businesses, even if they're in the same business.
"If I help other people, it helps me," she said. "I could have a site next door that does the same as me. That's not competition — that's a draw."
Another reason is the success she said she experienced with the previous hops.
"(The shop hop in March) wasn't as big, and my store had about 80 people come in," Bell said. "That's a lot of people in two days in my store, and I'm hoping to do far better than that."
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Besides bringing customers to her shop, Bell hopes the hop brings people to Kewaunee County in general. She said she's advertising the hop in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois to draw visitors from those states, and she's talking with area hotels and lodging establishments to hopefully set up some sort of promotion or package deals.
"I want to be able to bring people into Kewaunee County, into our area," Bell said.
Along with the hops planned for October and November, Bell also is trying to put together an event tentatively called Lake to Bay Learning Stroll, with shops offering short classes aimed at families and groups of friends on various subjects during the days of the stroll, along with store promotions offered by the participating stores. As with the shop hops, Bell is taking inquiries from businesses for the learning stroll.
As for the June hop, Bell said she'll consider it a success if it makes an impact on all those involved, on both sides of the counter.
"We're hoping it just blows the socks off of everyone, participants and shoppers," Bell said.
The Lake to Bay Spring Shop Hop takes place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 11 to 13 at at least 29 shops in Kewaunee County, as well as Green Bay, New Franken, Dyckesville, Denmark, Mishicot and Sturgeon Bay. Shop operators can apply to take part in this and future Shop Hops planned for October and November.
For more information, call Pat Bell at 920-530-3630 or visit the "Lake to Bay" Facebook page (facebook.com/LaketoBayWI), which includes a map of the locations; the stores also will have brochures listing the locations.
Participating shops as of June 1:
- 2nd Hand Rose, gift shop, 423 Fourth St.
- Amber’s Attic & Art, consignment store, 507 Fourth St.
- BellaLuna’s Apothecary & Boutique, 211 Steele St.
- Caffé Tlazo, coffee and tea shop and food, 607 Fourth St.
- Dodge Antiques & Architecturals, 702 Fourth St.
- Hello Dolly & Love Said So, apparel and accessories boutique, 410 Second St.
- Honeycomb, homemade body care products and gifts, 400 Second St.
- Ladybug Glass Studio, 219 Steele St.
- Robert Ray Gallery, 520 Parkway St.
- The Country Cupboard, gift shop, 504 Fourth St.
- WaterFront Creations, artisanal gifts, 207 Steele St.
- Yardstick Books, 317 Steele St.
- Cold Country Vines & Wines, E3207 Nuclear Road
- Hippielicious, clothing and accessories, 517 Milwaukee St.
- Katie Rabbit’s, thrift and consignment gifts, 706 Main St.
- Norman General Store, general goods and quilt shop, E3296 County G
- Port O’Call, restaurant, 310 Milwaukee St.
- Alpaca to Apparel at Elderberry Acres, clothing store, N3569 E. Townline Road
- Aude Jewelers, 213 Main St.
- Don’s Bakery, 118 Main St.
- Scenic Valley Country Store, 137 W. Center Drive
- The Downstairs Attic, fine and fiber art, crafts and home décor, E1289 State 29
- Auntie Nette's Flower Farm, 5757 County K
- Lilac Shanty, gift shop, N9003 County DK
- Ivy Trails Gift & Garden, 3200 Main St.
- Josephine’s Attic Gifts & Decor, 2654 Continental Drive
- Duck Creek Vineyard & Winery, 5046 County R
- RiverEdge Galleries, 432 E. Main St.
- Door County Designs, home décor, 137 N. Fourth Ave.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Kewaunee County shop hop hopes to draw visitors from across the Midwest