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Memorial Hall in downtown Hutchinson bustled with shoppers visiting various booths filled with 14 local boutiques from Reno County on Nov. 9. Later in the evening, the lights dimmed to showcase Hutchinson fashion.
Community members were encouraged to get involved with their community through the United Way of Reno County.
Giving back to the community
The United Way partnered with local boutiques to showcase local businesses the region supports. The evening began with refreshments, snacks and open shopping, followed by a fashion show displaying the clothes the local boutiques sell and ended with an announcement from United Way thanking the attendees.
Executive director of United Way of Reno County, Lisa Gleason said this idea came from a minor event from past years. However, since Amy Kraft from Kraft Electric joined the United Way as campaign co-chair this year, she decided to make it larger. Gleason said they plan to continue the event in following years.
“We had always done a small event around this time, and Amy kind of took it and ran. I didn’t think we had this many boutiques, so it’s exciting to have most of them all in one place and get people thinking about shopping locally and giving back locally,” Gleason said.
The Shop Local Give Local event invited the boutiques to display their clothing, jewelry and other apparel at Memorial Hall in Hutchinson and donate 20% of the profits they made that night to the United Way.
Kraft said the local boutiques were receptive to the Shop Local Give Local event and were excited to have a chance to give back to their community.
“We just started going down the street and reaching out to each of them and asking if this is something they wanted to be involved in, and everybody was so receptive, so positive, so excited,” Kraft said.
Hutchinson native Shelby Harner, who owns Sugar Creek Boutique, brought her clothes to the Shop Local Give Local event. Sugar Creek, housed in the mall, sells western and contemporary fashion.
“I know like all of these boutiques, but now I can put faces with them. It’s fun to experience community over competition. I love it,” Harner said.
Sister Moses, located in downtown Hutchinson, shared a similar sentiment in the community aspect of the local businesses in Hutchinson. Bekah Tripp, Sister Moses Hutchinson franchise store owner, said she enjoys the idea of working with other boutiques downtown.
“I would much rather if I don’t have the perfect dress or jacket, but if I know somebody else does I’ll send them (in) their direction,” Tripp said.
More than 200 attendees visited Memorial Hall for the Shop Local Give Local event. Kraft said she enjoyed seeing how many people visited the event to shop and watch the fashion show and converse with other community members as a way to connect.
“I am super stoked about people seeing the options they have locally, that they can shop local and further give back to make a change in our community,” Kraft said.