This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Annual Christmas Open House

I spent part of the afternoon visiting Rensselaer retail merchants participating in the Annual Christmas Open House. It officially ends tomorrow, but in a way it continues to December 18. As part of the promotion, the eleven retailers have a card that you can pick up at any of the participating retailers. When you have visited all eleven and had your card punched or signed, you leave it at the last retailer. From all the completed cards, one will be chosen to receive a gift basket containing a gift from each of the retailers. As I visited the retailers, I was struck with how clever this simple promotion was, and how it really benefited some of the lesser known stores. A lot of people were stopping by stores that they had never previously visited, and even if they did not buy something, they at least became aware of what the store offered.

The eleven participants are Brookside Florist, Browns Garden & Floral Shop, Steffen's Jewelry, The Willow Switch, Prairie's Edge, Stunt Dawg & Studio 110 Frames, Kids Corner and Unique Things, Home Sweet Home, Sew many Stitches 2, Dales Steak & Chop Shop, and Longs Gifts & From the Needle's Point. The only one of the stores that I have not done a post on is Longs Gifts & From the Needle's Point, which has a larger and more varied selection of items than any of the others. I am not sure why I have never done a post on them--I will have to remedy that some day.

I commented to one of the retailers that I did not see why more retailers were not in on this promotion. He responded that most of the locally owned, non chain retailers were. Think about that.

In the evening I stopped by the Business After Hours event at the Carnegie Center, which was also the opening of the 11th Annual Photography Exhibit of the Jasper County Art League. I was interested in hearing if anyone knew how Rensselaer could ride the coattails of Fair Oaks Farms, which is planning major expansion with restaurant, hotel, water park, chickens, beef, and an airshow all in the planning stages or more. I did not get a good answer. Jasper County will initiate a Tourist Board or Visitor Committee--I forget the exact name--starting in 2014 and that will be funded by a tax on motel/hotel accommodations. Maybe we will get some answers next year. The conversation turned to sports and the announcement that Gene Edmunds is being inducted into the National Officials Hall of Fame. I heard stories about Dan Brandenburg, who may be the most talented athlete to ever attend RCHS. He played football in the NFL for several years. He holds the RCHS track records in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, and high jump despite being a large person--he played linebacker in the NFL.

As I write this, I see that the football season has ended for the Bombers. They lost to Tipton 27 to 0. Tipton is the last Hoosier Conference team still alive--West Lafayette was defeated convincingly by Andrean.

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