Pink and black balloons will decorate downtown Centralia again this Saturday as businesses welcome shoppers for the spring edition of Girls Night Out.
The popular shopping event, which runs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, is designed to welcome shoppers into downtown Centralia and support local businesses.
“It’s a fun event for people,” said Rebecca Staebler, a Centralia city councilor, a member of the event’s planning committee and the owner of HUBBUB. “People are looking for opportunities to go out and about.”
Shoppers start by checking in at The Station: Coffee Bar & Bistro at 120 South Tower Ave., where they’ll pay the $5 entry fee and receive a passport with information on each of the event’s 30 participating businesses. The first 200 people to check in will receive an empty goody bag to bring to participating businesses, each of which will have something special to add to the bag. And, as usual, shoppers are entered into a grand prize drawing at each participating business they visit.
The empty goody bags at check-in are one of several modifications that Girls Night Out organizers made this year to help discourage congregation and promote shoppers’ engagement with local businesses.
Organizers weren’t able to hold the semi-annual event last April due to COVID-19 restrictions, but organizers report that the October Girls Night Out, held with some modifications to spread people out and ensure participating shoppers and businesses were as safe as possible, had a good turnout.
The modifications made in October, such as limiting the check-in to one location instead of two and extending the event’s hours, will carry over to the upcoming April event, Staebler said. While the modifications were motivated by COVID-19, some — like the goody bags — were changes that organizers were already thinking of implementing before the pandemic hit.
“We think people are going to like some of the modifications,” Staebler said.
Also new this year is the presale of 50 limited-edition tote bags: each costs $25 and includes the entrance fee. The remaining profits all go to Hope Alliance, a local nonprofit that supports survivors of domestic assault and sexual abuse. A portion of all the entrance fees also goes to Hope Alliance.
“It’s another way to be supportive of Hope Alliance,” Staebler said. “We really appreciate our partnership with them.”
Even though organizers kept safety in mind while planning, Staebler acknowledged that some shoppers just don’t feel comfortable participating in a group shopping event.
“We just want to tell them we’re here all the time and we welcome them all the time,” she said. “This is just an opportunity to say that we’re open and are willing to make accommodations.”
For more information on Girls Night Out, visit https://bit.ly/3vcsjOy or the event’s Facebook page. Those with questions can call 360-736-4333.