Vendors lined Main Street Aug. 29 at the annual Brick Street Market, an event many business owners said was a successful way of promoting businesses during an unpredictable pandemic.
The event, which had a capped attendance and staggered entries to accommodate social distancing, sold out, attracting many from around central Indiana. It also gave vendors without a physical store a place to sell their products.
Tailored Toddies, an Indianapolis-based business specializing in selling handmade cocktail mixes, was one such business. Co-owner Alex Stark said Tailored Toddies actively participates in five farmers markets across central Indiana. Stark participated in a Zoom meeting ahead of the event, and she said she was impressed by the mitigation efforts put in place by the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, which organized the event.
“We’ve been told by a number of people who have attended that they were exceptionally pleased we were able to hold the event in a safe manner,” Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Allyson Gutwein said. “It’s nice to know we can do our best to pull off a safe, yet important event for our members and non-members alike.”
Just days before the event was scheduled to take place, Gutwein was unsure whether the event would be allowed to continue this year because the event needed to comply with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive orders, but, ultimately, the event was cleared by local health officials.
Tailored Toddies, by Stark’s own admission, has been forced to adjust its business to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, something Stark assumes almost every business has had to do the same. Stark said Brick Street Market and similar events, such as the chamber’s A Night on the Bricks series it held earlier in the summer, help businesses reach more customers while experimenting with previously untested sales strategies.
“During the pandemic, we’re having to get crafty,” Stark said. “We would supply for people’s parties and events. Now we are looking more into gift boxes that we can send out for virtual events.”
Gutwein said that without the event and without closing a section of Main Street, people from other cities and towns “wouldn’t have necessarily come downtown and seen what our fantastic businesses have to offer every day.” She said the event attracted “more people by their door to show them they can come back and shop here not just this week but all the weeks of the year.”