Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cross Promotion in Main Street Districts

To break up a 12-hour drive back from Nashville last week, instead of hitting the fast food joints at a crummy rest stop, we stopped for dinner at The Bistro on Main in historic Lexington, Virginia. (This isn't a food blog, but the food is worth mentioning. We started with a baked brie appetizer that had a delicious Asian pear compote and all three of us were immensely pleased with our entree selections, which included a flavorful meatloaf, tasty rigatoni, and a fresh arugula and beet salad. I was particularly pleased to see that it had a great beer list, with several of the options coming from local mircrobreweries like Lone Wolf and Star Hill.)

The real reason for this post is to talk about the bathroom.


They created a great opportunity to showcase another business in the downtown. Next to the sink was a bottle of aromatherapy hand soap and companion hand lotion made by another shop in the Main Street district. They also had an aromatherapy infuser instead of those awful Glade air fresheners. Above these products was a little sign posted on the mirror talking about the business that makes these items and where to find them downtown (and on Facebook and Twitter). I didn't ask if they worked out a deal where the shop supplied the toiletry items for free or at a discount in exchange for posting a sign about the business. It is possible that out of the goodness of restauranteur's heart that she buys the items and posts the sign, as well. Regardless, it is a great example of cross promoting businesses in the downtown, and is something that can, and should, be repeated in Main Street districts everywhere.

Oh, and the other thing that really got me, too, was the inclusion of a framed photo that shows the condition of the place before its rehab (parts of the ceiling and wall had fallen down and come to rest on the booths). Clearly, this was a labor of love. You can tell how much someone loved this building, seeing beyond its state of disrepair and envisioning what it could become. It is a small detail that helps tell the story of the community. Another thing worth doing in Main Street districts everywhere.

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