Mt. Pleasant was ready to mingle Tuesday night during the inaugural Jingle Jingle Mix and Mingle event.
The evening was co-hosted by 24 local businesses who opened their doors to guests. Main Street Mt. Pleasant Director Lisa Oetken said around 80 percent of the participating businesses had wine stops and the other 20 percent had food to try.
The mingle was a first for Main Street, but Oetken says it was an important first as it encouraged people to get out and enjoy all downtown has to offer year-round.
“It’s very important for us to stay healthy as a community and a downtown that people look local first,” she said. “We always consider the downtown as the heart of the town, and if your heart’s not healthy, the body’s not healthy. So if the downtown’s not healthy, the rest of the town kind of goes the same way.”
According to Oetken, of the 140 businesses and over 700 employees in Mt. Pleasant, the majority of retail are in the downtown area. Oetken says that by providing an incentive, such as a wine walk, people are more encouraged to stop in places they would not normally shop.
Shannon Baker, the chef at Walt’s Tap Room, was hoping for just that. Since their opening in May, they have participated in as many of Main Street Mt. Pleasant’s opportunities as possible in order to garner a new customer base.
“I think it adds quite a bit,” she said. “It’s a good way to talk about our business to people, it kind of reminds people that we’re here.”
Walt’s is not typically open on Tuesday nights, but opened their doors specifically for the mingle and offered a Christmas cookie decorating station.
A few doors down at Brown’s Shoe Fit, assistant manager Tara Mullin said bringing in people was only one perk. She said the event allowed her business to partner with other local businesses to create a stronger sense of community.
Dave Rogers from Airport Road Winery was in Brown’s providing samples to guests. He said the mingle provided a unique opportunity because not only were citizens able to support local business, local businesses were able to support each other by being together in the store.
“We feel it’s important for businesses to partner with one another to show a strong front,” he said. “We just like to give back to the community and be available.”