For the week of June 9, 1999  thru June 15, 1999  

Ketchum’s Friday nights to heat up this summer

Chamber to begin night business support

Express Staff Writer

Friday nights in Ketchum this summer promise to be a little livelier than in the past.

Operating with $12,500 the city of Ketchum gave for enlivening night-time business, the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce will launch a new program called Ketch’um Alive Tonight! on Friday, June 25.

It’s designed to spark night-time business in the city’s downtown, and will continue through September 3, 1999.

The chamber plans to undertake an extensive promotional campaign, sponsor Friday-evening entertainment, hang banners and flags with Ketch’um Alive Tonight! logos and encourage Ketchum’s merchants to stay open until 9 p.m.

Entertainment will range from the sultry beats of African and Caribbean music, to the visual cunning of local artists’ work in a gallery walk, to the excitement of western dancing. Also, participating businesses will offer discounts on selected merchandise, foods or drinks.

According to chamber executive director Carol Waller, entertainers will be rotated among varying parts of Ketchum’s business district to ensure that all merchants reap the benefits of the program. Exact locations have not yet been set.

Waller was on hand at a Ketchum City Council meeting Monday night to present the chamber’s plans. She was also there to request an extra $6,700 for the program.

Waller said she needed the extra funds for estimated expenses, some of which would be one-time start up expenditures including store banners, advertising, entertainment, gift certificate give-aways, image creation and advertising and event management.

The predicted total for startup is $19,200, $6,700 more than the city allocated hamber.

But Ketchum’s officials said the chamber should rework the program to the existing budget. The chamber’s yearly budget is just over $1 million.

"I think (the program is) great," Councilman David Hutchinson said, "but I don’t think we want to give you any more money. As cheesy as it sounds to not want to give you $6,700, I think you need to operate within your budget."

Councilwoman Chris Potters agreed with Hutchinson. Councilwoman Sue Noel said she would have granted the chamber the money were the decision hers alone.

All of the council members agreed, however, that Ketch’um Alive Tonight! is a great program that was well conceived.

Local store owners were also present Monday night to show their support for Ketch’um Alive Tonight.

Page Klune of Page’s gallery has been in business in Ketchum for just over a year and keeps her store open until 9:30 p.m. nightly.

"Many people want to walk off dinner, looking to enjoy the ambiance of the town, looking to spend money," she said. "Even if (store owners) don’t get on the band wagon in the beginning, it can be very beneficial for (those who do)."

Pam Colesworthy, owner of Video West, also supports the program.

"If the momentum grows, (business owners) are quickly going to increase sales," she said.

In opening her presentation, Waller said that a challenge had been given to the chamber last year, when the city offered the extra funds.


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