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City hopes to lure shoppers with downtown antique stores

January 22, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

The City of Hagerstown is launching a campaign to lure antique dealers downtown to help fill vacant buildings and provide a wider variety of retail shops.

The city initiative drew support from several area antique dealers on Thursday.

The dealers said bringing antique shops to Hagerstown would make the area a more attractive destination for antique buyers, which would help their business and other businesses that benefit from crowds, such as restaurants.

"Our thought is that where more antique shops are located the more people come and the more attractive our location becomes," said Cliff Springer, one of four owners of Beaver Creek Antique Market on U.S. 40 east of Hagerstown.

"It would be a good draw for the downtown," said Pat Lushbaugh, owner of Back Door Antiques on East Franklin Street in Hagerstown.

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"People drive from all over the country to go antiquing ... It could bring more people downtown," Lushbaugh said.

Karen Giffin, city public information manager and a member of the city marketing committee, said the committee decided to seek antique dealers because of the belief that antique shops would fit well with the other downtown businesses.

"The goal is to assist with the filling of vacant buildings with a mix of retail (shops)," Giffin said.

Advertisements will run in newspapers and magazines throughout the region within the next two or three weeks, she said.

The ads are expected to read: "Antique Dealers, discover the City of Hagerstown."

The ads will try to draw antique dealers to Hagerstown's downtown by telling them about, "business incentive programs, financial assistance packages and readily available rental properties," according to a draft of the ad.

Giffin said the city is highlighting existing incentives for businesses. She said there are no plans to offer special incentives to antique businesses interested in locating here.

The marketing campaign will stress that downtown Hagerstown is easily accessible by Interstates 81 and 70, she said.

The marketing campaign is expected to cost between $2,000 and $3,000. It will be funded through the city's $27,000 marketing budget, Giffin said.

The marketing campaign is expected to last about a month, she said.

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