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IT’S TIME TO MAKE YOUR TOWN SHINE

IT’S TIME TO MAKE YOUR TOWN SHINE

Downtown’s are beginning to thrive again. Across the country we are seeing a revival with the addition of new boutiques, restaurants and stores entering empty or unoccupied storefronts, town beautification projects and plenty of collaboration between downtown partnerships, local government and chambers of commerce. All have the same goal in mind – making their towns not only a tourist attraction, but someplace their residents can be proud of. It’s all about keeping the dollars local.

Here are just a few ways to help make your town shine and promote a sense of community with residents and visitors.

Image Courtesy of: Make Danville Shine

1. SPRUCE IT UP

Take a walk through your town with a visitor’s eye. Or better yet, call an out of town relative and invite them for a visit. Ask them to walk through the town and take note of both the positive and negative aspects of it. Sometimes, it is hard for those of us who are so close to something to see what others might see.

For example; Is there trash laying around the sidewalks? Are the light poles and curbs clean and removed of damage or clutter? Organize a neighborhood cleanup or do what the town of Danville, VA did and brand it as an event. “For the last six years, we have been doing Make Danville Shine, which is a program and encouragement for neighborhoods and neighborhood groups to get together and make repairs to their homes,” Danville Community Inspections Director Jerry Rigney said.

Around 25 vendors specializing in everything from HVAC to gardening will be on hand.

“They’ll be talking about home improvement. They’ll be talking about plants, how to plant plants, what plants to plant and vegetable plants,” Rigney said.

Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup

Danville Neighborhood Development Corporation Director Ernecia Coles said the expo is the first of several events being held this month to encourage residents to take an active role in making the city shine. “Sixty groups are going to participate in neighborhood cleanups. Public Works is providing dumpsters for people to be able to haul out debris or large appliances from their home,” Coles said.

Renovating all the light poles, sidewalks and curbs through your main street or town square can make a huge difference in appearance. Not only can these things be unsightly, but hazardous if there are chunks of concrete missing from a sidewalk or curb.

2. OFFER FREE PARKING

In Bridgeport, West Virginia, City Clerk Andrea Kerr said many factors are contributing to the city’s success downtown, but business is one of those key contributors. “There are a lot of factors that have gone into making downtown Bridgeport what it is today,” Kerr said. “First and foremost, the business owners. A number of businesses have been located in downtown for many, many years. They are faithful to the city, and we are thrilled that they continue to keep our downtown alive.”

“Offering free parking gives people a reason to want to walk up and down the streets and visit different businesses,” Kerr said. “We have free parking all throughout downtown. This helps business owners and their patrons not have to worry about meters. The upkeep of the buildings, their distinction and charm, draws people from all over the state to visit our downtown. We are proud that our Main Street continues to grow.”

Image Courtesy of: Visit KC

3. HOST A THIRD THURSDAY OR FIRST FRIDAY EVENT

Think of this as an extended happy hour if you will. Invite shops and restaurants to stay open late and offer great specials. Kansas City has been hosting their First Friday events in the Crossroads Arts District for years and it is a huge success.  It’s all about the experience, thousands of residents and visitors fill the sidewalks of the Crossroads in Kansas City, enjoying what has become the city’s liveliest and most popular event. Arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a wide variety of local businesses feature regional and national artists as well as live entertainment starting at 5 p.m.

Best explored on foot, the First Friday tradition continues to grow with up to 10,000 attendees. Most make it an evening, with dinner and drinks from a colorful array of restaurants and entertainment venues.

Image courtesy of: City of Gardner

4. CREATE A BEAUTIFUL GREENSPACE

People love being outside, no matter what time of year it is. And people especially love to socialize with their friends and neighbors. Encourage a sense of community with a beautiful greenspace.

Green Spaces Are Crowd Pleasers

For example, the Canadian town of Newmarket, Ontario plans to create a Central Park inspired green space. The town’s vision is to create an iconic community park/outdoor green space with inspiration from Central Park in New York and outdoor skating trails.

“With unanimous support by Council, the vision is to secure this large, rare, natural property now, to become our Central Park, to service existing and future residents,” said Mayor Tony Van Bynen. “As intensification takes place over the next two decades on the Yonge Street corridor, this oasis – so, connected by trails and transit – will serve as a community meeting space for the people of Newmarket.”

The town’s vision includes walking trails and a one kilometer skating trail throughout the site that could be programmed with lights, fire pits and market vendors, plus an outdoor skating rink.

 

5. BRIGHTEN IT UP

While the holidays are a perfect time to decorate your town with lights, think outside the box and dazzle your community by leaving warm white lights up all year long. Hang them in the trees or light up the town square gazebo. This creates a warm, safe feeling and encourages people to linger a bit longer. It’s all about the experience!

For the holidays, go all out! Kick off the annual tree lighting with a Christmas Parade and invite area businesses to join in the fun. Incorporate a walk-through holiday display park, play music (or better yet, invite your local high school choir to sing!) and serve hot cocoa for the kids – they will love it and look forward to it every year!

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5 TIPS FOR HANGING HOLIDAY LIGHTS LIKE A PRO

Right now, it is your prime season. You are busier than you ever have been, with a great client base, solid, dependable employees and reliable equipment. However, what happens to your business when the cooler months roll around? If you have been considering increasing your business revenue by adding holiday lighting installation to your list of services, here are 5 tips that will get your started and have you hanging holiday lights like a pro in no time!

TIP #1 – USE ONLY PRO GRADE® COMMERCIAL LIGHTING

Most consumers don’t realize the difference between commercial grade and big box holiday lighting. It is up to you to educate them about the safety and reliability of commercial grade and why it is the better choice. All lights are not created equal, and there is a significant difference between professional quality and residential standard. A good installation job can be negated if cheap products prove to be problematic by malfunctioning. Big box store lights often don’t last past one season and there is a considerable difference between a product that is rated for 1,500 hours and a commercial grade lighting product that is rated at 3,000 hours. Our commercial-grade, totally dimmable LED C-7 and C-9 bulbs are rated at 100,000 hours and built with a polystyrene lens that’s waterproof and virtually unbreakable. Many retail-grade mini lights appear to “flicker”. That’s because they’re half-wave rectified and flash at a rate of 60 times per second. Our LED minis are full-wave rectified. They flash twice as fast – 120 times per second – so there’s no flicker, just a strong, beautiful glow. There are also vandal-resistant lights available and different types of bulbs to produce different lighting effects. All important factors when it comes down to repeat business the next season.

TIP #2 – GET THE WORD OUT ADD HOLIDAY LIGHTING SERVICE TO YOUR MARKETING MATERIALS

Now that you have decided to add holiday lighting to your service roster, you will need to make sure all marketing materials reflect this change. Make sure to add it to your website and any flyers you may leave behind at the home. Ideally, you would want to get the marketing materials printed and in front of your clients at least a couple of months prior to the holiday season, so they have ample time to make their decision on who to use for holiday lighting installation. Don’t forget to promote this on your social media pages and in your email blast communications as well. EDDM ® (Every Door Direct Mail ®) is also a great way to promote these services – think door hangers, direct mail, etc. This is an affordable targeted advertising technique that lets you map your marketing mail audience by age, income, or household size. You can use the EDDM mapping tool to choose the ZIP Code™ and carrier route that will target your best possible customers—current and future. Of course, one of the BEST ways to market your holiday lighting business, is to install beautiful lights on YOUR OWN HOME – it’s like a live marketing brochure! Or you can ask your existing customers to display a yard sign and offer them a discount for doing so.

TIP #3 – MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT AND INSURANCE

This is important. Make sure you don’t take any short cuts on the equipment you use, especially when it comes to the holiday lighting electrical equipment. The items you will need will of course, depend on the specific job. If it a commercial job, such as a retail shopping mall or bank, you may need a crane, lift or heavy duty ladder. In most cases for residential jobs, you will need heavy duty extension ladders, electrical extension cords, clips, lawn stakes, replacement bulbs and electrical tape. Make sure to talk to your insurance agent about liability/business insurance coverage and other appropriate insurances for your area.

TIP #4 – OFFER A NICHE

Most customers don’t have a problem putting up holiday lights on their front bushes or around their deck railings; it’s the heights that bother them and make them a bit nervous. By offering them a niche service like this or exclusively working with retail shopping centers, you can better target your customers.

 

 

TIP #5 – MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS ARE ON THE SAME PAGE AND SHARE THE SAME  HOLIDAY LIGHTING DESIGN VISION

It’s important to sit down with your client and ask them how they would like to decorate their home or business. “Simple and elegant” mean different things to different people. Sitting down with your client ahead of the holiday season and discussing ideas, ensures you a smooth installation and a positive client experience. Communication is key. Assure them that you will provide them with a beautiful design, an efficient installation, proactive in-season maintenance and a timely, post-season removal and storage plan. They will appreciate you guiding through this process, especially when it comes to advising them on the electrical components and the safety and cost efficiency aspects of using commercial grade lighting.

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APARTMENT LIFE: DRESS UP YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE WITH BEAUTIFUL WHITE LIGHTING

Large apartment owners and multifamily developers invest thousands on landscaping, lawn services, and expensive outdoor elements such as pools, decks, and patios. Yet they often overlook the importance of exterior white lighting, which not only highlights landscaping, but also provides a measure of safety.

In a recent interview with Multifamily Executive, Galt Robertson, project manager of landscape and design for Atlanta-based Post Properties said, “Outdoor lighting has two purposes—functional and aesthetic. Do you want drama or safety?” Robertson asks. “You want the area well-lit for safety, but also dramatic in order to showcase the surrounding landscape and architectural details.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIVING EXPERIENCE

With millennials, as well as baby boomers flocking to apartment living – they are looking for one similarity – the experience. Gone are the days of selling them on the quaint, cozy aspect of the 2 BR, 1 Bath option. They are more attracted to amenities and spacious outdoor living options. Though the two cohorts enjoy amenities such as swimming pools, workout rooms, Wi-Fi, and dog parks, Millennials are more likely to want more social attractions, such as TV lounges, bars, and such, according to Zillow.com. Warm up the important outdoor living space by stringing warm white bistro lighting above the common areas.

The latest design trends in development are meant to entice today’s renters— hotel-like lobbies with gas-powered fireplaces, communal spaces resembling luxurious airport lounges, rooftop resort-style pools with fire pits and gardens with beautiful outdoor lighting, interior units with upscale designer touches—these are just some of the impressive amenities being offered now. Indeed, developers are building multifamily properties not only to house people, but to foster an upscale, urban lifestyle, as well.

EFFICIENCY IS KEY

If you’re looking for the best way to be not only save on energy costs, but also be a bit more environmentally friendly (which is always attractive to prospective residents!), then LED lighting is the way to go. Edison’s incandescent bulb invention burns and heats a piece of wire called a filament to emit light. The heat creates the light source. It’s a big power draw.

LED, on the other hand, is an electronic device that emits light when an electrical current is passed through it. One of LED outdoor lighting’s many benefits: It doesn’t create as much heat, so requires very little energy for the amount of light it produces — just a fraction of the electricity that an incandescent bulb does.

Low-voltage LED outdoor lighting uses 15-20 percent of the electricity we use with halogen or incandescent bulbs. This means far lower energy bills. And the beautiful thing, you don’t have to sacrifice design with our warm white LED bulb options!

LIGHT UP THE TREES

If the outdoor space has trees or tall bushes in its landscape, light it up with string lights or these 5mm warm white lights. It’s a beautiful effect, as the lights work their way up into the treetops and as your residents walk along, new lights pop up and others get obscured by the surrounding leaves. This beautiful light beckons you to come outside, which will further strengthen that sense of community that your residents are craving. Connect them to a timer and set from dusk to dawn.

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MAKE YOUR EVENT SHINE WITH STUNNING LIGHTING

You live for this moment. The moment your client walks into the room and her face lights up with sheer joy. “It’s just gorgeous!”, she exclaims. And a wash of relief comes over you.

You have just one shot to make a lasting impression at your event. There’s nothing that brings an event to life more than fantastic lighting. Lighting is the single most important décor element at your event. It can help with logistics as well; controlling the flow of the attendees, highlighting certain parts of the space and drawing attention to different features of the venue.

USE THESE 5 AWESOME LIGHTING TRICKS AT YOUR NEXT EVENT

  1. GOBO LIGHTING FOR THE WIN

Gobos are a great way to make your lighting look fun. They can be used on a small scale to create several features on a wall, or they can be used on a larger scale to give the entire room a unique ambiance. Gobos are also excellent for projecting a couple’s initials or hashtag on the floor at their wedding or a company’s logo at a corporate event.

  1. THE EXPERTS KNOW BEST

Lighting can be fickle. It’s best to take the time to explain the goals of the event to an expert lighting designer if you have one. This will ensure your event’s lighting contributes to the overall purpose and design of the event and as a result, fulfills your client’s vision.

For example, if you’re planning a wedding event and want to showcase your client’s lavish centerpieces and tablescapes, letting your lighting designer know that the ultimate goal of the event is to make the tables look their absolute best, will help them choose the right lighting brightness and colors to make each table sparkle.

  1. STRING LIGHTS CAN BE UPLIFTING

Warm white string lights are an excellent and relatively inexpensive way to create ambiance and atmosphere at your weddings and events. These are especially useful for rooms or venues that have unique features on the walls such as panels or columns, or a ceiling with beams. It is also a great tool for highlighting fabric draping. In turn, using string lights may help reduce your decorating costs, because you’re relying on the white lights to make the room look more dynamic and interesting.

3.FOCAL POINTS ARE IDEAL

Focusing on one area of the room to showcase your lighting on will help draw the guests’ eyes to one central location. Choosing a strategic focal point, such as the wedding cake, the head table at a wedding, or a product display at a corporate event, makes it easier to focus your budget and resources into a small area, while still wowing the attendees.

4. AI TECHNOLOGY MEETS LIGHTING

Imagine your clients walking through your event and the lights changing with the sound of the music. AI (artificial intelligence) lights give you the ability to make quick changes on the fly if you decide to move a decorative element at your event. This option is often used during the holiday season for Christmas displays and walk-through parks – and hit is a HIT with the kiddos!

 

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QUICKER WITHOUT THE FLICKER

One reason why LED Christmas Lights last longer than Incandescent Lights is because they’re not always “on”. They actually flash on and off at an incredible rate of speed that is imperceptible to the human eye. However, some LED Lights flash quicker than others.

When you purchase LED String Lights or LED Mini Lights always make sure that you’re getting full-wave rectified LEDs. Many of the LED Light Strings or LED Replacement Bulbs sold in the big box stores and other retail outlets may be half-wave rectified, so they flash half as fast and may appear to “flicker”.

Full-wave rectified LED Lights flash twice as fast – an incredible 120 times per second – to provide a bright, constant glow without the appearance of flickering. All of the LED Christmas Lights we sell are commercial grade and full-wave rectified. There’s no flicker because they flash quicker.