Tag Archives: Village of Webster

Businesses helping businesses during this difficult time

15 Jan

A ripple of kindness is quietly spreading through the Webster community.

It’s called Webster Business Pay it Forward, an effort begun by businesses almost a year ago to help their fellow small business owners weather the Covid economy.

I first heard about the program from one of my readers (thanks, Nancy!) who saw a Facebook post from Ric Thomann of Webster Interiors. Ric had purchased ten gift cards and long-stemmed roses from Kittelberger Florist, which were to be given out free to the first ten customers who visited Kittelberger and mentioned the program. Not only did the gift card purchase benefit Kittelberger, chances were good the patrons who used them would be spending even more than that in the store.

The roses were just an extra special touch.

Ric was able to give me a little background, particularly that the movement was spearheaded locally by Dr. Joe Manza of Wellness For You NOW Chiropractic on North Ave.

Ric wrote,

During the earlier stages of Covid, Joe went out to a few businesses and pre-paid for some products from the Webster businesses and then splashed what he did on his and Webster Facebook group pages to encourage the community to take advantage of his generosity and hopefully bring additional awareness and customers to those businesses.

The Webster BID, the Village of Webster’s business association, got wind of the idea and started spreading it through the village, benefiting almost a dozen small businesses to date.

Dr. Joe, however, refuses to take credit for the original idea, saying that the concept began with a business growth group he belongs to called Black Diamond Club. He started the ball rolling “early on in the apocalypse” by opening a tab at the Lake Road Country Store for $150 worth of fish frys for anyone who had lost work and needed a hot meal.

He wrote,

Not too long after I posted this offer on Facebook, a high school friend of mine who operates a very small musical instrument repair business jumped in and added to my tab. That made my heart melt! Later on, I did another one at Knucklehead Brewing. I bought ten growlers for any first responders, nurses, fire, police … as a thank you for their hard work.

And he didn’t stop there, paying it forward to Performance Hobby, The Goodie Shoppe, Kiss Me Cookie and The North Bee. Come February, he’s planning to do it again, to benefit another local business, Barbells & Body Fuel.

The big idea is that it is absolutely necessary to support our community in as many ways as possible. Too many people have been negatively impacted by the virus and the lockdown. Job loss, reduced incomes, business closings, depression, and so forth have become the side effects of this situation.

I have heard personally that this little initiative has helped so many people and businesses which makes me hope others are inspired to contribute to the cause, just like my friend did by adding to my tab. If we can come together to serve our community by giving just a little bit more or extra – if/when possible – so that life is a little less of a struggle and a bit brighter for those in need then we are all better off.

The Webster Business Pay it Forward initiative is still going on. The wave of kindness continues to spread, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for it, for your opportunity to help support our local businesses.

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Another look at the village’s holiday finery

22 Dec

This is a great follow-up for anyone who liked my recent blog highlighting our village’s holiday decorations.

The Webster Public Library has just posted a new video in their Let’s Explore Webster series. (You can view it above.) It’s called Holiday Time in the Village, hosted by our favorite library video personalities, Laureen and Doreen. They took their stroll through the village during the daytime, so I think you’ll see several things in their video which were not in mine.

Check it out, and while you’re on their YouTube page, check out ome of the other videos they’ve posted there. You just might learn something about our town you didn’t know before!

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Village of Webster hosts three fun holiday contests

9 Dec

The Village of Webster is doing its best to put some sparkle and fun into this very unusual holiday season.

In the next few weeks, the Webster Business Improvement District (BID) will host three contests designed to get community members out and about and exploring the village.

The first, a Gingerbread House Contest, is going on right now through Dec. 12. Six village businesses have created some very fanciful gingerbread houses. Community members can see each one at the participating business or online at websterbid.com and vote for their favorites. Three prizes will be awarded for Most Creative, Best Decorated and Most Traditional.

The participating businesses include:

  • Bernardi & Company CPAs, 40 Barrett Dr.
  • Beyond Cuts Salon, 33 North Ave.
  • Finn’s Automotive, 45 E. Main
  • Martino’s Pizza, 160 W. Main
  • Xceed Credit Union, 189 W. Main
  • Maplewood Nursing Home (must be viewed online)

This contest ends on Dec. 12, so get your votes in soon.

And by the way, get together with your family and come up with your own gingerbread house creation. Take a photo and email it to Elena@websterbid.com, and you could win a prize, too!

Next is the Snowman Scavenger Hunt, which runs for one week from Dec. 13 to 19.

The kids are especially going to like this one. Each participating businesses will hang a snowman poster inside the store or in the window, and each poster will have a different word on it. Players need to collect all the words to reveal a secret phrase. There will be 15 snowmen in all, and hints for where to find them will be posted on the BID website. Participants are also encouraged to take a creative picture with each snowman.

The top two puzzle solvers and the most creative photo with a snowman will each win a prize.

Finally, the week before Christmas, make sure to get downtown to see the village sparkle as shop owners decorate their windows and doors for the BID’s Window Display Contest. Community members can vote online for the Most Creative, the Most Colorful and the best Spirit of the Season.

For more information about all these upcoming holiday events, visit the BID website.

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Here’s a shopping challenge for you

27 Nov

Perhaps it’s just the fact that “Black Friday” has turned into “Black Friday Week” because people are spending more time at home and shopping online, but it seems to me that this year’s Black Friday craziness has been a little muted.

I’d like to encourage everyone to not let that happen to Small Business Saturday, which happens tomorrow, Nov. 28.

Our small business owners need our support more than ever this year help them survive this pandemic. Especially if we’re headed to an orange designation which might throw us back into another round of retail restrictions.

So I propose this challenge: sometime this holiday season, make a commitment to purchasing at least one gift at a small business. Even if (or especially if) you just need stocking presents, step into a small shop you’ve never been in before and I guarantee you’ll find something unique and perfect.

The North Bee, for example, at 27 North Ave. This is one of my favorite shops in the village, because I can always find something fun and different for office gifts or stockings.

The North Bee is packed with products from the hive, but goes far beyond just honey. (But if you or someone you love fancies honey, there are countless varieties here.) You have to check out her beeswax Christmas ornament tree, and beeswax statuettes for example. There are candies and even soft drinks, all honeybee-based. And Amy has really begun to focus her product line on health and wellness, like natural elderberry syrup and propolis products.

The North Bee has just celebrated its second anniversary, so Amy must be doing something right.

Another one of my favorite shops is The Village Quilt Shoppe at 21 E. Main. I’m not a quilter, but I like to stop in here occasionally just to say hi to the owners, Vanetta and Monique, who are two of the nicest people I have ever met. They’ve got all sorts of sales going on right now and a chance to win a gift raffle.

This is the perfect place to find a gift — or a gift card — for that quilter on your list.

And of course I can’t sing the praises of Lala of Webster enough. This adorable shop at 38 E. Main is packed with unique and creative gifts and is a must see for anyone shopping in the village. Owner Lisa Scholnski always has something new up her sleeve. Stay tuned for news soon of a special offering for seniors that’s in the works.

These three are just my favorite village shops, but li’l old Webster has so much to offer. Here are a few highlights:

  • Know someone who would rather read than do just about anything else? Grab a gift certificate from Yesterday’s Muse booksellers, 32 W. Main.
  • Performance Hobbies, 15 W. Main, is a hobbyist’s paradise.
  • How about supporting the musician in your family with something from The Music Store, 18 E. Main?
  • Grab some beautiful hand-made holiday chocolates at The Goodie Shoppe, 83 North Ave.
  • Nest Things at 11 E. Main is kind of like an upscale Grandma’s attic, packed with “carefully rechosen items” for the home, mother-to-be, and children. Lots of surprises in here.
  • Brighten up your holiday table and home with some flowers and wreaths from Kittleberger’s Florist, 263 North Ave.

And don’t forget to save some time to enjoy a snack and beverage at one of the village’s restaurants and pubs. You should definitely stop into Barry’s Old School Irish just to see the lights they’ve strung.

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Own a business? Join Webster’s Holiday Parade of Lights!

18 Nov

Have you heard about this year’s reimagined Parade of Lights, happening Saturday Dec. 5?

This very popular event, always the highlight of the Village of Webster’s White Christmas, was cancelled because of COVID restrictions. But it’s back — albeit a little different.  

Normally, fire trucks, community and business floats, and marching bands, all covered in twinkling holiday lights, parade down Main St. past thousands of spectators. This year, the trucks and floats will be stationary, and spectators will drive past them, enjoying the lights and music from the safety and warmth of their own cars.  

More than 1,500 cars have already registered to drive through and enjoy the display. Now it’s time for more businesses and community agencies to jump on board. 

As an exhibitor, you’ll be assigned a spot where you can park your vehicle for the entire parade, where upwards of 2,000 cars will drive past to see your holiday lights display and business information. (At an average of four people per car, that’s 8,000 people.) Plus, every participating business can provide marketing material for a VIP goodie bag which will be safely handed out to spectator vehicles as they enter the parade route. 

This is an outstanding opportunity to reach out to thousands of new and existing customers, and remind everyone that you’re still in business. So get registered, grab some holiday lights, and plan to have some fun! 

The Village of Webster Holiday Parade of Lights is scheduled for Saturday Dec. 5 from 3 to 8 p.m. on San Jose Dr. rain or shine. Participation is free, but you’ll need to register so organizers know how many vehicles to expect. For more information and to register, email 2020websterparadeoflights@neqals.orgRegistration is required by Nov. 25. 

You can also find more information about the event at the 2020 Webster Parade of Lights Facebook page.

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A few pre-holiday thoughts

14 Nov

There’s Christmas music on the radio, 24/7. I believe it’s been running on not just one, but TWO stations for a few weeks now.

Now, I like Christmas music as much as the next guy, and I’ve never had any issue with radio stations jumping the gun somewhat and starting it up way early. (Although this year I think it was earlier than normal, almost like the two stations were in a race to see who could roll it out first.) And I gotta say, I think this year more than any other, we really need some jingle and joy in our lives. So you’ll find me switching on the radio in the car more often these days, searching out some Bing Crosby.

But what I DO take issue with is that these two stations apparently have not changed up their holiday music collection in five years or more.

There are thousands of holiday tunes out there. PLEASE update your repertoire. We don’t need to hear “Santa Baby” played every hour on the hour. (But you can work in Feliz Navidad more often if you want.)

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Here’s a quick reminder that the village is open for business.

I did some early Christmas shopping today, at two of my favorite village shops, Lala of Webster and the Village Quilt Shoppe, both on East Main St. When I walked into LaLa, I was delighted to see a long line of customers at the register (all properly distancing) and probably ten more still shopping.

It was wonderful to see that LaLa’s business is going so well, and more to the point, that so many new people have come to discover this unique store. It seeme like every time I walk in, I hear a first-timer ooh and aah with delight as they explore the three floors. As for me, I’ve been in lots of times but go back frequently because owner Lisa Schlonski keeps adding new merchandise.

I also popped into the Village Quilt Shoppe across the street. I’m not a quilter, but I know that they’re going to be selling off many of their samples and I really want to get my hands on one of the market bags. That sale actually starts on the 20th, so I will be back.

If you haven’t been in either of these shops before, remember that the Saturday after Thankgiving is Small Business Saturday. That would be a great opportunity to check them out, and many of the other small businesses we have here in town.

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The Parade of Lights is back (with a twist)

6 Nov
This year’s Parade of Lights will look a bit different, but will still be awesome!

The holiday season isn’t going to be a complete bust after all.

Our local first responders have come up with a way to still enjoy Webster’s annual Parade of Lights, the sparkling climax to the Village’s annual White Christmas celebration. Even though White Christmas has been cancelled, the parade will still go on … sort of.

Instead of all the trucks and floats driving past spectators along Main Street, this year spectators will be able to stay in the warmth of their cars and drive past the trucks and floats.

Here’s how it’s going to look:

On Saturday Dec. 5, first responders (fire deparments, EMS agencies, police departments), businesses and community groups will bedeck their vehicles in lights and decorations and line up in one of the very large Xerox parking lots off of San Jose Drive.

Then, from 4 p.m. through 8 p.m., families will be invited to drive through the lot and check out the light display. A pre-event viewing time from 3 to 4 p.m. will be reserved for those with special needs and the elderly.

Spectators will be directed to approach the event via Salt Rd, turning west on to San Jose Drive. Visitors will be asked to sign up online for one of the eight 30 minute time slots to manage traffic flow. Visitors can register on the EventBrite website, searching 2020 Webster Holiday Parade of Lights or by clicking this link.

Businesses and community agencies who are interested in participating should email 2020websterparadeoflights@neqals.org to get a link for on-line registration.

Details are still coming together, but organizers have started up a Facebook page where they’ll be keeping everyone up to date, so make sure to “like” the page. But in the meantime, mark yor calendar today for Dec. 5, and sign up for a time slot!

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Virtual costume contest winners announced

3 Nov

Congratulations to the winners of the first ever (and hopefully only) Village of Webster Virtual Costume Contest!

The village normally holds its costume contest at the beginning of the Trick or Treat in the Village event. Of course that didn’t happen this year, so instead, families were encouraged to get all dressed up and email photos to the judges at Village Hall.

Fifteen families accepted the challenge. The winners were:

  • 1st Place: Mint Chip Ice Cream
  • 2nd Place: Baby Horse Jockey
  • 3rd Place: Headless Horseman
  • 4th Place: Shark Family

Here’s a slideshow of all the other costumes as well:

The contest was sponsored by Monroe County Legislator Matthew Terp, who is providing gift cards to not just the four top winners, but to family that participated.

Hopefully next year, Trick-or-Treating in the Village will be back, along with the costume contest. But in the meantime, thank you to everyone who helped pull this together and who joined the fun.

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Explore Webster through Webster Library videos

1 Nov

If you haven’t done so yet, you HAVE to check out the Webster Library’s YouTube channel. It’s absolutely PACKED with informative and fun videos for everyone. There’s Storytime with Jason, book reviews, music, crafts, experiments, puppets, library program information and lots, lots more.

But one of the best features of the channel is the library’s “Let’s Explore Webster” video series. These are entertaining and informative video tours of some of Webster’s best features. Some of the more recent videos have explored the John Unger Nature Trail (part of their trails series), the Arboretum, Webster Park and the Hope Ministry.

But I really want to tell you about one in particular, which I helped create: a video tour of the Village of Webster parks.

I joined Laureen and Doreen from the Webster Public Library for the Explore Village Parks video.

As a member of the Village of Webster’s Parks and Recreation Committee, I was very happy to help Loreen and Doreen put together this video. One of the things I’ve learned in my tenure with the committee is that many people, even village residents, don’t realize that our village actually boats six parks. One of them even has a half mile of nature trails.

This video is a great opportunity to learn more about our village parks, even if you already thought you knew everything about them.

Here’s a direct link to the Explore Village of Webster Parks video. Enjoy! And while you’re there, make sure to check out all the other videos on the channel as well.

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An update on Edna Struck Memorial Park

23 Oct

Just a week ago I posted a blog about Edna Struck Memorial Park, the grassy median where Lapham Park makes a slight jog at the corner of Elm St. It’s named in honor of Mrs. Struck, who made it her passion to tend the plants on the island for years.

In February of 2019, someone was driving down Lapham Park much too fast and — instead of navigating the jog in the road — decided to drive right through the park, pretty much destroying it.

Today I can offer a bit more detail about what the newly refurbished park will look like.

As illustrated in the sketch, which I received from the village’s Historical Preservation Commission, the redesign will include a nice mix of colorful annuals and perennials, and some whispy ornamental grasses, anchored at each end by Japanese lilac trees.

The boulder which holds the actual memorial plaque to Edna Struck will be replaced as well, pretty much where it was before.

Welch’s Greenhouse, on Rt. 250 south of town, will be providing the trees, grass and flowers, and will do all the planting.

Plans have been in the works for more than a year to fix and redesign the park, so it’s great to see that work has finally begun. Everything should be completed this coming spring.

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