The Village Association of Grosse Pointe is adding social media to its toolbox in hopes of using it to draw more people to the three block business-shopping-dining district.
Lifelong Grosse Pointer Jennifer Teets grew up going to the Village and still frequents the businesses there today. She's seen it in it evolve and is excited to work with the business owners to expand their marketing efforts.
The association hired Teets as its social media coordinator for the Village. She began during the holidays, highlighting some of the deals retailers were offering on a particular day.
More recently, Teets has used the social media to highlight the particular offerings of a store in addition to highlighting daily deals.
Village Association Marketing Manager John Denomme said he was slow to join the online marketing world in part because he grew up reading a traditional newspaper and using traditional marketing outlets.
The Association puts on several events each year that draw people to the area and those are promoted through flyers and other advertising efforts. Denomme said he has come to learn everyone is using social media, so he understands the value in using such a medium to promote the businesses.
He's worked for the association for years and has often thought a marketing campaign that would benefit the Pointes would involve all of Kercheval Avenue, which houses three business-shopping districts--The Hill, The Village and The Park. Such an effort has never gotten started but Denomme is excited about Teets' energy and endless ideas.
Teets also does social marketing for the Grosse Pointe Music Academy. She has a degree from Wayne State University in organizational communications and teaches private violin and piano lessons.
In addition to posting on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter, Teets is meeting with business owners one-on-one to help them expand their own individual marketing efforts. She may be helping them learn social media or to develop more of a presence on the internet.
Teets already found a way for the small businesses to earn $50 worth of free advertising through the Facebook Marketing Solutions Small Business Boost--something she took advantage of for the Association and intends to highlight to the individual businesses, she said.
In the last year, the Village has lost several businesses including Borders, Cavanaugh's Invitation Shop, Burger Pointe and most recently, Gap and Hannah Bear Boutique/La Jolie Rose. With the exception of the latest one, the businesses have closed permanently. Hannah Bear Boutique/La Jolie Rose has moved to a location on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods.
The reasons for closing varied in each particular case but its left more vacant store fronts. There have been some additions or improvements within the Village including the Kroger rebuild, the opening of Green Zone Pizza and the expansion of Treasure Trove as well as the remodeling of Sanders.
As any small downtown area, the businesses ebb and flow overtime but for some time business owners have wanted to see marketing efforts to draw people into the stores and Teets believes this is part of what social media can do.
Not only is she connecting on social media sites with businesses that already have accounts, such as Village Toy or The Barkery, but she is working with those who are not on the social media scene to understand its value. She presented to the business owners her plan about social media last month and introduced it to the board earlier this month.
"We want to get everyone to know about the businesses in Grosse Pointe," Teets said. "This benefits the stores. This is not cut throat competition. Yes they are all trying to sell but more traffic will benefit everyone."
She envisions eventually being able to do video interviews with business owners that will be used to feature one business each week in order to get the business more exposure both within the Grosse Pointes and outside, she said.
Meanwhile, City of Grosse Pointe officials are focusing on the Village this year and having a meeting planned for 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in city council chambers for any and all Village stakeholders--from business owners, building owners, developers, investors and residents. Officials are looking to gather feedback and ideas about what people want to see in the Village for future development.
There has been recent interest expressed to city officials by more than one theater developer, which was shared during a council meeting.
- To follow the Village on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevillagegrossepointe
- To follow the Village on Twitter: @TheVillageGP