Confessions of a Girls Night Out Veteran

Updated: May 18

May 2020 Girls Night Out Blog #2

When I thought about writing a blog about all the steps I take to prepare for Girls Night Out that takes place every year in Gig Harbor, the pandemic was not part of my vision. Things have changed, the world has changed, and the way we do “life” looks a bit different these days. Many community members have hit the floor running from day one to the jobs that require their time and essential skills. Many of us have had the opportunity to have a bit more time to ponder over our schedules and figure out how we are going to fill that time. For me, I have had to think ‘outside the box’ to come up with ways to connect with family and friends because of the ‘social distancing.’ I have also had some time and space to tackle projects and activities that have been packed away ready for my spare minutes to be completed. Like many, I am trying new things, shopping in new ways, doing more things at home, and trying to be intentional to get things done. With this current status of mine, I want to take a step back and look at the ‘big picture’ as it stands for me right now as far as my planning my day for Girls Night Out.

Ladies enjoying Girls Night Out in 2019 on Harborview Dr and A/R Workshop What will Girls Night Out look like this year? Good question! Not sure at this time, but I know everyone participating in the planning are working on creative solutions to make sure Girls Night Out will continue to stand out as a fun filled event. Rules and regulations in preparation for a big event such as this, take time, planning, and communication between everyone involved. In the past, the planning partners had the luxury of time for face-to-face meetings to build upon the previous years and work to improve the details for the following year. This year the ‘boundaries’ seem to keep changing. Everyone involved is trying to work with a new normal that keeps evolving. I have my usual ways to get ready for my fun filled day in November, but I’m going to have to be flexible in tackling my strategy plan. So, to answer the original question of what the event will look like? I still am not sure.... yet. But I believe I will have a better idea as we get closer to November. The Big Picture Since I am stepping back and looking at the big picture of what goes into planning a fun filled event, I am reminded of all the ‘parts’ that go into the scope and sequence of Girls Night Out. For now, I will include my part in all of this for this month’s blog. First, I would like to point out that there are three ‘key players’ that help to make Girls Night Out happen. 1. The Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance. View their new website here. They offer the Red Bags for the participants of Girls Night Out as a fundraiser for sale that have items from many participating stores as well as a coupon book for the event. The money paid for the bags go towards all the activities and events scheduled throughout the year for the downtown waterfront, as well as direct support and assistance to the downtown businesses. 2. The Gig Harbor waterfront store owners and managers Store owners have the opportunity to show off their stores, offer discounts and specials, and connect to Girls Night Out customers. It is good business for them to be available for this day. 3. The Girls Night Out customers Customers pay for their bags, shop in the participating stores along the downtown waterfront, and have a fun filled day spending time with friends. They leave the day with plans of returning to do more shopping at another time. All three groups are what make Girls Night Out happen. All three parts are all equally important and we all need each other to balance out the event.

Business was booming at Girls Night Out 2019 at Tickled Pink and Treasures4Humanity. Downtown Businesses Right now, all of the stores and restaurants in the downtown area have been highly affected by the pandemic. They have been forced to close their shops and eateries and do business differently. I believe we need these businesses to continue operating so that they will continue to be part of the downtown community. We need them to continue to be a part of Girls Night Out. Several restaurants have been able to adjust. Some have been able to do takeout orders. Many have offered some of our favorite dishes for pick up or delivery. Downtown restaurants open for takeout or delivery A few stores have been able to continue some business by switching to social media, curbside pick-up, and online shopping. Current status of downtown retailers And there are some of my favorite stores that do not have the ability to open their stores or continue business due to many reasons including employee statuses, one of a kind or specialty items, no access to online set up for shopping and more. They are in a holding pattern.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun at The Beach Basket, and The Harbor General Store paused for a photo while loading bags Here is my plan right now I want to stay connected to the people and businesses in our Downtown waterfront area. I have said before that Gig Harbor is my hometown. This is where my friends and family live. I want them to succeed. They have been there to provide so much for me, so I want to do my part to help them get back to business. There are many ways to support our local businesses. Do what you can that works for you. My plan is to stay in touch with people working in the downtown area. I like to be aware and know how things are going for those affected. I plan on keeping in touch with the business owners and shop and dine when the opportunity happens. If you are on Facebook the Gig Harbor Waterfront Alliance as well as several individual downtown businesses are constantly posting offerings and updates weekly and daily online. We have a few months until Girls Night Out and we need this time to help our friends get back to business. This makes a difference for the town of Gig Harbor. My vision and my hope is that the downtown waterfront stores will all be ready to join in on Girls Night Out in November in whatever capacity that may be. Regardless, it will be a special day! I am looking forward to celebrating together! This year, it may be less about what you get, and more about what you give to help rebuild our wonderful downtown. Your support of the Alliance, this event, and the downtown businesses will offer you an opportunity to play an important role in your community in the upcoming recovery process. Stay safe and healthy,

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