Veronica Marroquin of Veronica’s Hair & Nail Salon mixes apple cider during preparations for her Dec. 3 open house. — The Holyoke Enterprise | Johnson Publications

Businesses share 5 tips for holiday open house success

    Christmas is right around the corner, which means the holiday shopping season has just begun for businesses across the country.
    The holidays bring the chance for savvy business owners to break off a piece of the winter action and earn more loyal customers for the rest of the year with holiday events and sales.
    Black Friday might have passed, but the season is still ripe to turn an office into a space for holiday cheer and invest in holiday events and open houses.
    This year, many Holyoke businesses plan to throw special events for the holidays. Some have been hosting them for years, others are just starting out, and six had tips for how to turn new open houses into an off-the-bat success.
    
#1 — Take pride in your store
    One of the first things customers notice in a store is cleanliness. Taking the time to do a deep clean of the inside and outside of a business will not only draw customers in, but also call attention to other holiday decorations.
    Misty Torres, owner of Red’s Liquors, said putting time into making her store spotless and setting up their holiday decorations always pays off when inviting potential patrons in for their seasonal tastings.
    “People look at how involved you are with what you do when it comes time,” she said. “When you take pride in what you have, people are going to notice.”
    Holyoke Marketplace manager Jill Fiedler said the store was able to cash in on the wave of Christmas shopping by setting up a display of gifts. This year, Mrs. Claus will also be visiting the store and handing out free treats.
    “You need to make the store enticing and inviting, especially during Christmas,” Fiedler said.
    When businesses put the time into making their storefront as visually appealing as possible, they have a better chance of being able to show their customers everything else they have to offer.
    
#2 — Know your audience
    Because each business serves a different segment of the community, it’s important to be aware of what customers are looking for and when they will be available to stop in.
    Bank of the West branch manager Deb Williamson said one of the ideas behind their annual soup luncheon is to welcome clients and their children at a time when both are off of work and school.
    The staff at the bank tries to make the event as personal as possible by each chipping in and making the many varieties of soup themselves. Williamson said this focus on meeting their clients where they are is one of the reasons the luncheon has been a holiday staple at the bank for more than a decade.
    Similarly, Torres said her store tries to avoid scheduling tastings on nights like Country Christmas, when customers are more likely to be spending time with their children.
    By getting to know its base of clients, a business can schedule events that draw in as many customers as possible.

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