Albion Merchants have new leader, more events in 2017

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2017 at 7:49 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Lisa Stratton, owner of the Hazy Jade Gift Shop in Albion, is pictured with two of the wine bottle cutouts that will promote a wine-tasting event next month.

ALBION – The Albion Merchants Association has a new leader for 2017 and an expanded lineup of events to promote the downtown and community.

Lisa Stratton last month was elected by the membership to serve as president. She succeeds Adam Johnson, who led the group in 2016. Sarah Brigham also was elected as the vice president.

Brigham is the owner of S-n-L Sweet Escapes. She doesn’t have a storefront. She has a commercial kitchen at her home in Knowlesville.

Brigham has been active in the Merchants, and is taking the lead in planning the upcoming wine-tasting event on March 11. The “Sip and Stroll” wine-tasting had been in August but was moved up to better accommodate wineries.

“I don’t have a storefront but I want to see Albion grow,” Brigham said. “There is a lot of stuff going on in Albion. We just need people to come down and support it.”

Brigham and Stratton worked together to make two 8-foot-high cutouts of wine bottles to promote the wine-tasting event. Those signs will be placed on Main Street, with one planned for the routes 98 and 31 intersection and another a few blocks north of the canal. Stratton will keep an existing one by her store, the Hazy Jade Gift Shop.

Stratton will be celebrating the five-year anniversary of her store next month. She has been active with the Merchants Association for five years, but this is her first time leading the group as president.

“I just want to see our community thrive and our businesses succeed,” she said.

She has spearheaded the downtown flower effort, making sure there are flowers in planters and hanging baskets. She also organizes a group of volunteers who water them on weekends over the summer.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Stratton: Sarah Brigham, owner of S-n-L Sweet Escapes in Albion, paints a sign promoting the March 11 wine-tasting event in Albion.

Stratton is a regular at Village Board meetings and she has pressed the Village Board to establish a downtown rental subsidy for businesses that move into the downtown. Those funds could be combined with a rental subsidy through the Orleans Economic Development Agency to help a business cover the rent while the merchant gets established.

The more businesses in the downtown, the bigger a shopping destination Albion could become, with the businesses drawing traffic for each other, Stratton said.

She would like to see more specialty shops. She said the U-Need-O Burrito store, which opened last year on July 1, has been a welcome addition to Main Street.

Brigham said Stratton has strong support of the AMA’s 32 members.

“She promotes everywhere she goes and she gets things done,” Brigham said.

Some upcoming events for 2017 include: a 14411 Doors Tour on April 22, led by Tom Rivers and highlighting Albion architecture; May 20, community yard sale; flower planting in May; June 9-10, Strawberry Festival; July 10, Cycling the Erie Canal welcome booth; Aug. 12, community yard sale and sidewalk sales; Oct. 7, scarecrow contest and shopping tour; Oct. 27, Beggars’ Night; Nov. 25, Small Business Saturday; and Dec. 9, Hometown Holiday.

“The events bring people in the shops and see what we have to offer,” Stratton said.

The Merchants welcome more members and volunteers for the events. Check the group’s Facebook page for more information.

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