Niles businesses unite for Third Thursdays promotion

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Daysha Amster stands outside her restaurant, Olfactory Hue Bistro, in downtown Niles Friday morning. Amster is spearheading an effort to create a Third Thursdays promotion for Niles businesses.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT — Daysha Amster stands outside her restaurant, Olfactory Hue Bistro, in downtown Niles Friday morning. Amster is spearheading an effort to create a Third Thursdays promotion for Niles businesses.

Thursday evenings are about to get more interesting.

Beginning May 19, several downtown Niles businesses will offer special promotions in the evening on the third Thursday of each month.

Daysha Amster, owner of Olfactory Hue Bistro restaurant downtown, is spearheading the effort, called Third Thursdays at Niles Main Street.

She said it is inspired by the successful First Fridays promotion in downtown South Bend.

The goal, she said, is to create more foot traffic and create unity among the downtown businesses.

“All of us have a craft and we are all unique, but we are all doing our own thing so I feel there is a disconnect,” she said. “For all of us to offer something on the same night is really special. I don’t feel like we are in competition. We are trying to help each other out.”

During Third Thursdays, all participating merchants will be open for business, offering unique promotions, specials and/or events that they create.

Each business will define its own hours and what they want to showcase, but Amster said the goal is to have everyone open between the hours of 5 and 9 p.m.

More than a dozen businesses have already signed on the participate, including Pizza Transit, The Brass Eye, Veni’s Sweet Shop and Jim’s Smokin’ Cafe, to name a few.

A full list of participating businesses can be found on the public group page on Facebook: Third Thursdays, Downtown Niles. It is also the place where people can find out what is happening each month.

Amster said businesses have until the April 1 deadline to join the promotion.

“We will keep doing it through the winter as long as it continues to be a success and all the participating businesses are enjoying doing it, and I think that they will,” Amster said. “Mostly it is up to the customers to hopefully show up and engage with us.”

Sarah Brittin, owner of Pizza Transit, said she wanted to participate because she loves bringing more attention to the great businesses downtown.

“I hope to see a lot of people participating and positive stories from the other merchants,” she said. “I think we are reaching a turning point where we’ll stop hearing about Niles having a ‘dying’ downtown, and we’ll hear and see people coming to Main Street to eat, shop, and just have a great time.”

Lisa Croteau, program manager for Niles DDA Main Street, said in addition to supporting the promotion, her organization is working on creating a third Thursday evening farmers’ market and concert to go along with the promotion.

“I think it will be wonderful for the merchants to each showcase what they have to offer and what makes them special — all at the same time,” she said. “Downtown is filled with experts — each and every business owner is an expert in their field. It is going to be fun to see how they each tell their story about what makes them special.”

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