Hear what local business leaders think of FIRSTfriday

"Clay Café has been participating in FIRSTfriday since the beginning. It is a wonderful community activity. It's a way for local businesses to give back and say "thank you" to our customers. It's a nice, direct way to thank our customers by giving an extra something or by putting on an event. The response to that from our customers has been very positive. They view that as something special that we, as local merchants, do for them to thank them for their business.

Our participation in FIRSTfriday has resulted in more people coming into Clay Café on Friday nights. For example, at the May FIRSTfriday a woman brought in seven little girls (and they were little!) to sing Karaoke for their pottery discount.

At the FIRSTfriday in May, Clay Café saw a 23.4% increase in revenues directly as a result of FIRSTfriday. In June, we saw a 36.8% increase in revenues directly attributable to FIRSTfriday. That is, a 13.4% increase in sales on FIRSTfriday May to June.  The reason for this increase is what we're doing for FIRSTfriday as our event & discount and, on top of that, we've done more word of mouth promotion of FIRSTfriday throughout the month. Now, throughout the month, we're promoting FIRSTfriday and saying come and "sing for your pottery" to our customers."

Helene Safford, Owner, Clay Café Studios

"FIRSTfriday has worked very well for us. It does increase the customer numbers. On FIRSTfriday, our dinner business is up 10% - 15% regularly.

Maneki Neko has been participating in FIRSTfriday since 2002, the year after we opened for business."

Tao, Owner & Chef, Maneki Neko Restaurant

"We've really enjoyed having members of the community visit us in a less pressured setting. It allows them to meet and know us without feeling obligated to purchase anything. As much as we advertise, and we will continue to advertise, I'd rather throw a party than run an ad.

A nice bonus of participating in FIRSTfriday has been reaching members of a far more diverse spectrum of the community who have never before considered our services. We have had three people come in to discuss projects solely because they knew about us due to FIRSTfriday.

It's been fun being part of FIRSTfriday. It has always been the purpose of community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Lions and Elks to meet people socially so when it is time to conduct business, they've already gotten to know each other, develop a relationship and have a level of trust."

Jim Lynch, Manager, F.A. McGonegal Kitchen & Bath

"Not only do we see an average 18% increase in business on FIRSTfriday because of FIRSTfriday, we see value from FIRSTfriday throughout the month. I have people come into the shop on other days of the month for two reasons: 1) to support the business because of my participation in FIRSTfriday and 2) they simply come in to say "thank you" for creating an event for the community.

Some people who have not come to a FIRSTfriday tell me that they will try to attend. They know about FIRSTfriday and have heard about it from their friends. And even though they haven't yet attended a FIRSTfriday, they still thank me for holding the event."

Tom Gittins, Owner, Art and Frame of Falls Church

"The Chamber is grateful for the opportunity to be a sponsor of FIRSTfriday of Falls Church. It has been a great way for involved businesses to show their support of the community while also enhancing their image and increasing their customer base and sales income. It highlights the community feel of Falls Church which is becoming increasingly important as more and more development takes place. Sponsoring FIRSTfriday has been a terrific way for the Chamber itself to show its support of the community and, just like our participating members, we have found it to be a valuable investment."

Sally Cole, Executive Director, Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce