Each year McPherson Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce work together to promote McPherson businesses in a joint Holiday promotion that has grown to include Open House Weekend, Co-Op Advertising packages, Cookies with Santa, Free movies at the Opera House, Snowball drop, and Candy Cane Cash.
Participants in the promotion must be members of either Main Street and/or the Chamber and pay a fee to help offset expenses. In addition, the Convention and Visitors Bureau provides a grant toward advertising to help draw visitors into McPherson, and a large number of businesses sponsor the movies and host Cookies with Santa.
This year’s entries in Candy Cane Cash totaled 6,180, up 51% from last year’s 3,965, and represented $309,000 spent locally in the 23 participating stores. In addition, the Kansas communities represented this year were 102, up from 81 last year. As for out- of- state entries, we had been consistent at 13, but jumped to 41 out- of- state this year, indicating that some of our visiting workers are spending their dollars right here in McPherson.
This year’s winner of Candy Cane Cash is Cheryl Gassie, a teacher at Elyria Christian School. Cheryl was so surprised when we called her at work to deliver the good news, “I never win anything!” she declared, “but each year I have faithfully entered the contest, and since I am already a local shopper I have some ideas on what I might buy”. She was presented with certificates totaling $500 that can be spent in any of the 23 participating stores in any combination.
“We are extremely pleased that this promotion is successful and that more people are spending their dollars locally, “said Ann Engel, Main Street Executive director.
“I agree,” stated Jennifer Burch, Chamber Executive Director, “while we hoped that the numbers would grow, we never imagined that we would see such a significant jump from last year.” (Numbers are based on each entry representing $50 spent and do not take into account entries not turned in, consumers who chose not to participate, and individual business promotion).
CVB director Anne Hassler indicated that the Christmas Light Trolley tours totaled 33 with over 350 tickets sold. Despite the weather, only 3 public and 1 private tour was cancelled.
The free movies at the Opera House were added a few years ago and averaged around 200 attendees per movie. “These movies are very popular”, stated John Holecek, Executive Director of the McPherson Opera House, “we are very pleased that they (Main Street and Chamber) do this each year.” This is the second year that a fourth movie was added on Thanksgiving weekend due to the generosity of the sponsoring businesses.
Cookies with Santa is another activity that has grown over the years, and this year there were 9 opportunities to enjoy talking with Santa and to have a free photo taken, courtesy of Walgreen’s. According to Larry Showalter, manager of the local store, approximately 600 photos were printed by Walgreen’s and there are still a large number that were not picked up. They will be available until the end of January, and all people need to do is come in and check the box for the location they attended Cookies with Santa, and take their child’s photo.