Small Biz Owners Benefit from Volunteers

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Can volunteers who are neither in your store nor under your supervision bring you business? Yes, they can.

When visitors come to Salem MA in October for our month-long Haunted Happenings celebration of Halloween, they do so armed not only with a printed map and an on-line set of references on cell phone or tablet, they also have direct, face to face contact with the Salem Main Streets (SMS) corps of volunteers whose goal is to direct those visitors to where they want to go in town so they will enjoy the visit.

Info Booth 3Last year alone the SMS volunteers at the Information Booth (situated at the major intersection of Essex & Washington Streets) assisted over 20,000 visitors during the weekends and holidays in October. That’s 20,000 potential customers for your Small Business.

I asked Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director, Salem Main Streets if local biz benefit directly or indirectly by the existence of the info booth.

“Great question,” she responds. “I would say both. One example for directly is that volunteers are instructed to give at least three options for anything that a visitor is looking for, so if someone is looking for seafood, a volunteer may name (for example) Turner’s, The Lobster Shanty, and Sea Level. That’s specific (and free) promotion for those three businesses.”

She continues “One example for indirectly is that the friendly assistance with way finding to specific businesses improves the total experience for the visitor; it increases the likelihood of the customers actually getting there in a timely fashion, thus putting them in a more pleasant and informed set of mind when they arrive at the business. All this serves to make the customer more inclined to spend money, and maybe spend more time overall in Salem.”

And right now, Salem Main Streets has issued an open invitation for new volunteers. Any small business in Salem should help spread the word, as in then end the Info Booth serves regular businesses as well as Halloween-themed attractions.

An orientation session will take place on Saturday, September 19 at 9:30 in the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center.

Info Booth 2Adds Sullivan, “We are also looking for multilingual volunteers to assist the many international visitors who come to Salem. If you have availability during some of these days, enjoy helping visitors by showing them your enthusiasm for our cultured and historic city, and want to make it fun and easy for visitors to explore all of Salem’s sites and attractions, please join us!”

For more information or to become a volunteer please contact Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets’ Executive Director, at 978-744-0004 x15 or kylie@salemmainstreets.org. This program is a partnership between Salem Main Streets, the National Park Service, the City of Salem, Destination Salem, and the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

When you’re a Small Business Owner you don’t always have the staff or budget to draw upon a local event to promote your products or services. Salem Main Streets volunteers provide that needed resource.

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