Money & Career
Local Businesses Boost Patronage with Creative Events
5/31/2018 10:01:30 AM
Keeping it Fresh

There’s a lot of competition in the business world. No matter how good your product is, you must continually come up with new ideas and marketing techniques to keep your product in the public eye, retain your clientele, and encourage new customers. Not an easy task.

In Southwest Louisiana, new establishments are popping up right and left. The trick is to stay open. We spoke to a few local businesses to find out what they’re doing to stay on top.

Pops and Rockets
The Pops and Rockets storefront on Pujo Street is approximately a year old. But in addition to the brick-and-mortar location, Pops and Rockets can be found at various events and festivals throughout the state. 

"We partner with local businesses,” owner Nick Villaume explains. "For example, we make our product using local ingredients, such as coffee from Acadiana Coffee Roasters. That typically creates more advertising for us because the local businesses want to let their customers know about the products.”

Pops and Rockets occasionally does events at their store. "We host an ‘80s trivia night about once per quarter that brings in a fair amount of business,” Villaume says. "And our landlord, Empire of the Seed, recently hosted a film premiere for a high school media arts program here.” 

Villaume says they use a loyalty program that allows them to collect customer information at the register. "We then create incentives for them to return to our shop,” he says. "For example, we sent out a ‘Free Ice Cream Cones for Moms’ message for Mother’s Day this year.”

Rikenjaks Brewing Company
Now that Rikenjaks is happily settled into their location on Ryan St., they are planning a major overhaul, says owner Jay Ecker. "We’re starting construction any day now on a brand-new kitchen, private dining room, covered patio, and an on-site brewery. Hopefully, it will all wrap up by fall.”

Ecker says that in addition to the entertainment and food, customers come in for the drink specials: Happy Hour, Ladies Night, Pint Night, Dollar Margarita Night. There’s also karaoke, bingo, and Open Mic Nights. "Food specials will usually be off-menu creations or specials on crawfish,” Ecker says.

Charleston Bistro
Jake Stutes says he tries to get a feel for what people want and puts a spin on it, such as the buy one, get one free "Mardi-Ritas” that were popular during the Mardi Gras season. Then we did the Saint Patrick’s day Pub Crawl and had a few specials featuring Yellowfin Vodka, made by a friend from Sulphur who started his own distillery,” Stutes says. "That was a great turn-out. Wine Nights are also fun. We do discounted wines during those events.”

On Cinco de Mayo, free margaritas were offered with the purchase of an entree. "People went kinda crazy, but it was a good time,” Stutes said.

Crying Eagle Brewery
Krickett Racca is the marketing director and tap room manager at Crying Eagle Brewery. "Our main goal is to provide SWLA with new experiences!” she says.  

Their Food Trucks Invade events have been incredibly successful. "This is a monthly event that we put on with Amanda from Sloppy Taco. We book a band and invite several food trucks to ‘invade’ Crying Eagle. This event is free.” Another fun monthly event is Bottoms Up Yoga. Yes, you guessed it – it’s yoga with beer! "It’s just $10 to participate,” Racca says. "Your entry includes an hour of yoga plus a beer to enjoy while you stretch it out!”

Over 2,000 people attended Crying Eagle’s first birthday party last year. "We are hoping for another amazing turnout for our second birthday on July 21 again!” she says. The Brewery’s Oktoberfest is also wildly popular and is held on the last Saturday of September. "We brew several different German styles of beer and play German/beer inspired games,” Racca says. "It’s a blast!”

As of last January, food is now served at The Bistro at Crying Eagle. "We serve artisan pizzas, appetizers and sandwiches,” Racca says. "And we recently expanded our hours to include lunch on Fridays and Saturdays.”
Posted by: Stefanie Powers | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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