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Businesses team up for ‘Meet Me in McGregor’ evening shopping

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McGregor businesses are teaming up to stay open late the second Thursday of each month in 2024. “Meet Me in McGregor” kicks off this Thursday, Jan. 11. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

McGregor businesses are teaming up to stay open late the second Thursday of each month in 2024. The initiative, called “Meet Me in McGregor,” kicks off this Thursday, Jan. 11.

 

Laura Davies Carlson, owner of Free Spirit Boutique, sparked the idea. She stayed open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays throughout 2023, realizing regular business hours don’t work for all shoppers’ schedules.

 

“So many people work until 5 or 6 p.m.,” she said.

 

Several other McGregor businesses joined in leading up to Christmas. Feedback was positive, according to Davies Carlson.

 

“The Thursday before Christmas was constantly busy,” she said.

 

Now, it will become a regular occurrence. Free Spirit will continue to be open late every Thursday, and seven other businesses—By the Spoonful, The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, Rivertown Fine Books, Paper Moon, Daisy Kay Crystals, Coffee and Gifts, Navy Rose Co. and Treats by Taylor—will extend their hours to 7 p.m. every second Thursday.

 

McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce Director Mary Anderson is helping to organize and promote “Meet Me in McGregor.” The chamber office will also be open late, and this Thursday she’ll offer a fun winter photo op for those who stop by from 5 to 7 p.m. During that same time, enter a drawing to win $25 in chamber bucks at any of the retail locations mentioned.

 

“I was delighted when the business owners brought up this idea of late night shopping. It’s a way to test it out to see how it goes,” Anderson said. “Laura’s passion has gotten everybody behind it. There are a lot of options to add monthly specials, promotions or demonstrations.”

 

One of the goals of “Meet Me in McGregor” is to have more unified business hours, said Davies Carlson. The idea was also referenced in McGregor’s recent downtown assessment. 

 

“If we have similar hours, we can all benefit,” she stated.

 

Anderson acknowledged staying open later can be challenging for small businesses.

 

“It can be hard to have extra hours when you’re one person or a family,” she said, “but it’s nice that it’s unified among the retail stores. I think the restaurants will like it also.”

 

Anderson encourages shoppers to stop at McGregor’s restaurants and pubs after visiting the stores. Backwoods Bar and Grill has trivia every Thursday night into March, starting at 7 p.m.

 

“Meet Me in McGregor” promotes the idea of “community over competition,” said Davies Carlson.

 

“It gives people more to do—another reason to come to town,” she explained. “Creating hype is going to help each other out and bring people to McGregor. If we work together, it’s not just plugging yourself. You’re making a bigger difference.”

 

Learn more on the “Visit McGregor-Marquette, Iowa” Facebook page.

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