Three New Hope business owners announced on Friday the formation of a new business group dubbed “One New Hope.”
Explained co-founder Maureen Ferguson, owner of MY MY on West Ferry Street, “It’s about creating a community of like-minded businesses that function together as one, hence the name, ‘One New Hope’.”
Added co-founder Terry Meehan, owner of the Studio art gallery and hair salon on West Mechanic Street, “I wanted to be part of a group of people that support each other, and feel like I’m part of a community that is positive and wants to move forward together. That’s all it takes — two or three like-minded people who say ‘let’s do it,’ and so we’re making it happen. It feels good to be part of a group that wants to move forward in a positive way.”
“We want to be our own spark that sets our own world on fire,” agreed Ferguson.
Added co-founder Melissa Matarese of Mesa Enterprises on West Ferry Street, “Non-competition within the group is a major thing, too, in that we’re trying help each other create this one community where customer traffic becomes one traffic and moves around the town because we support each other verbally in the shops and through the backbone of this group.”
The trio spent much of the afternoon handing out invitations to the group’s inaugural meeting scheduled for Oct. 7 at the Studio. The founders hope that initially inviting a select group of businesses to join will help them garner feedback and “form a core that leads to a larger group of mutually beneficial business owners that get together periodically, assist each other, refer customers to one another, and commit to the group’s cultural values.”
Criteria for membership will include participation in the group’s ‘One Friday’ event, including remaining open for business until 10 p.m., attendance at monthly meetings, keeping a clean and updated storefront (e.g. seasonally appropriate), offering prominent exposure of group marketing material, paying dues (on a sliding scale), and participating in an environmental sustainability plan being created.
Says Ferguson, “We’re looking for solutions, not complaints.”
According to Matarese, “Our One Friday event is a key part of the plan: businesses will stay open until 10 p.m., and we’ll produce maps and marketing material that gives incentives to go around and visit each shop participating in the group, effectively pushing traffic from business to business around town.” The first One Friday event is scheduled for Nov. 1.
Ferguson explained that the initial invitation process is less about exclusivity than manageability. “What’s going on in New Hope right now isn’t quite working for us, so we want to do something different. We’re sending out invitations initially to keep it manageable, so we can get an idea, take a temperature, and see how it works.
“Anyone who’s hearing about this and thinks they might be interested, please contact us, we want to talk to you,” added Ferguson.
Herb Millman, co-owner of Cockamamie’s Art Deco Emporium on North Main Street and a former New Hope Chamber of Commerce president, said of the group’s formation, “I think it’s a good idea to have a group that is working to promote businesses together…of course that’s what the Chamber’s supposed to be doing. I think it would be beneficial for this group to approach the Chamber about working together to increase the pool of volunteers willing to help pound the pavement and promote the town.
“I also think the group is a good idea because it might give the Chamber the kick in the ass they need. This will shake things up,” he continued.
Opined Sal Savioni, owner of Savioni Designer Boutique on South Main Street, “I think it’s a wonderful, excellent idea to get together and form a community to work together rather than argue — that’s good for everybody.”