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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Last Thursday’s Girls Night Out on the Square in Pittsfield brought out hundreds, if not thousands, of shoppers and revelers to downtown Pittsfield.
This year’s Girls Night Out, according to business owners and community leaders, offered a much needed financial and morale boost to locally owned shops and restaurants.
“From a business standpoint, we had great sales,” owner of clothing store Reap + Sow Kacie Lipcaman said. “But it was a great night, not just for sales, but as a pick-me-up to begin the holiday season. It was great for businesses.”
Lipcaman said the event offered a morale boost, not just to businesses, but to residents as well.
“This year was really different,” Lipcaman said. “It seemed like everyone was excited to be there. There was a slower pace this year. Everyone was taking time to visit with each other and appreciate each other and being out.”
After more than a year of pandemic restrictions and worries, Lipcaman said Girls Night Out offered a rare opportunity to gather as a community.
“People were excited to be around each other,” Lipcaman said. “It was an atmosphere of just positivity and pure joy. It was great for businesses, but it was great for people to just have a night of joy.”
Lipcaman said her store stayed busy for the duration of Girls Night Out, which officially ran from 4-8 p.m.
“We stayed open until 8:30,” Lipcaman said. “There was a constant flow of traffic for four-and-a-half hours. Everyone was really soaking it all in.”
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An important feature of Girls Night Out, according to Lipcaman, is the influx of out-of-town shoppers to Pike County.
“We had so many new customers,” Lipcaman said. “That’s huge for a small business. We saw people from the Winchester and Jacksonville area, a few from Springfield and Quincy – just all the surrounding towns, but that’s huge for little old Pittsfield.”
Pittsfield Mayor Gary Mendenhall also recognized the important role that Girls Night out plays in drawing out-of-town shoppers to the community.
“Seeing everything so busy is exciting,” Mendenhall said. “Seeing so many different people in town and moving around downtown was a good sight to see. Anything to stimulate the economy and support our local businesses is a good thing.”
Mendenhall said he was impressed with the turnout, especially because the event was canceled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“After an off year, still being as big, or bigger, than ever is a good sign for the future,” Mendenhall said. “The Chamber did a great job organizing the event.”
Mendenhall emphasized that Girls Night Out is an important economic boost for the entire Pike County community.
“Of course it brings in extra revenue to local businesses, but the city benefits from extra sales tax, “ Mendenhall said. “Any time people come from out of town, the whole city – the whole county benefits. They buy gas. They eat at restaurants. Everybody benefits.”
The Pike County Chamber of Commerce and business owners estimate that over a thousand attendees were on hand at the 2021 Girls Night Out on the Square in Pittsfield.
Girls Night Out on the Square is a cooperative event between the City of Pittsfield, downtown Pittsfield businesses and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.
The 2021 Girls Night Out on the Square was sponsored by Harpole’s Heartland Lodge, Illini Community Hospital, Quincy Medical Group, Sheila Davidsmeyer Northwestern Mutual, Casteel’s, Wright Place Auto Body, New Way Signs, CASSCOMM, Ace Hardware, Whitetail Properties, Trash Queen and Great Rivers Bank.