What will Whole Foods Do for Us?

img_0815Whole Foods Market will open it’s doors to the public on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. I was fortunate to get a sneak peak of what’s to come. Employees were busy stocking shelves, setting up displays and getting trained.

I’ve only been to Whole Foods once while I was visiting Overland Park, KS, so I was looking forward to seeing what we would be getting in Shrossier. In particular, I was interested in what Whole Foods would do for us. I found out that the commitment to our community is absolutely phenomenal.

Whole Foods Shreveport-Bossier has hired 141 local people and only brought in six from other regions for training purposes. img_0829Local artist Ann Gassen has been hired as “The Chalk Designer” to decorate all of the signs around the store. They currently have approximately 50 local vendors, with more in the process. The store has used reclaimed wood throughout the building, most notable is the “Joskes wood” on the walls and soffits, reclaimed from a San Antonio department store built in 1888 called Joskes. That wood originally came from forests around my hometown of Lake Charles, LA in Calcasieu Parish. Electric vehicle charging stations, a bike rack to support the cycling community and energy efficiency throughout the store.

In addition, Whole Foods Market Shreveport will host five community giving days over the next five weeks as part of their commitment to supporting the local community, and to celebrate the opening of their first Shreveport store. One percent of net sales on designated community giving days will benefit the following Shreveport-Bossier area nonprofit organizations: Community Renewal International, The Fuller Center for Housing, Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, Shreveport Green, and The Gingerbread House.

Now, about those services! There are so many fabulous services that are provided in the Shreveport store. Too many to list here, so here are the services that I found of value:

  • The butchers will custom cut, season, steam, fillet or portion your order for FREE just by asking!
  • Full-service seafood shop with experienced Fishmongers ready to help prepare your fish any way you would like it. They fillet, butterfly, debone whole fish, peel and devein shrimp, season, and grill or steam your fish for FREE! In store Seafood Smokehouse with custom smoking available.
  • Have a favorite? They will special order any item by the case with a 10% case discount
  • Free ice to protect your items on the ride home
  • Want to taste fruits or veggies before you buy them? Just ask and they will cut them right there for ya.
  • 500 wines in-house! Get 10% discount when you purchase wine by the case.
  • Expanded grass-fed dairy options including milk, butter, and yogurt and over 2,600 Non-GMO and Organic items!
    A floral area that will include more than 40 cut flowers, potted plants and arrangements in addition to seasonal items such as Christmas trees. For each tree sold, Whole Foods will replant a tree through American Forests.
  • 2000 items on sale every week and an extensive line of 365 Everyday Value® products
  • Louisiana proud! They feature a great selection of Louisiana products. (See list below)

LOUISIANA PROUD VENDORS IN THE SHREVEPORT WHOLE FOODS:

In addition to this list, there are several vendors in the process of finalizing paperwork, so there will be more to come. If you have a product that you’d like to get into Whole Foods, you may submit at Rangeme.com/wholefoods 

Abita Brewery
Acalli Chocolate
Bayou Soap
Bayou Teche
Bee Hippie (uses Hummer and Son beeswax)
Big Easy Bucha
Café du Monde
Cake Face Soaping
Camellia Beans
Chafunkta Brewing Co.
Community
Cool Brew
Covington Brewhouse
Crystal
Davey’s Treasures
Delightful Palate
Dirty Potato Chips
Doodley Dee’s Farm
Edwardo’s Secret Salsa
Evamor
Flying Heart Brewing
French Market
French Truck (beans and cold brew)
Good Granoly
Great Raft Brewing
Gulf Coast seafood
Hanley’s Dressing
Hummer and Son (packaged and in bulk)
Inglewood Farm Pecan Oil
Jennings Apiaries
KenChaux Rice
Kinloch Plantation Pecan Oil
Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce
Magoun’s Kitchen<
onjuni’s
New Orleans Brewing Company
Nuccio’s Olive Salad
Parish Brewing
Red River Brewery
Reve (coffee beans)
Rhino Coffee (beans and cold brew)
River Road Coffee
Southern Art
Star Nursery
Sucre
Swamp Pop
Tabasco
Taylormade Kale Chips
Three Brothers Farm Cane Syrup and Cane Sugar
Tin Roof Brewing Co.

Whole Foods Shreveport Photo Gallery:

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There will be a sneak peak on Monday, November 14 from 4-7 pm. Find info on their Facebook Event. Also, if you are interested in attending the Bread Breaking Ceremony (ribbon cutting), it will be held at 7:30 am on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. The first 200 people who arrive for the grand opening ceremony will receive a Whole Foods Market gift card with a mystery amount up to $100.00.

Follow Whole Foods Shreveport-Bossier:

In terms of community, I believe Whole Foods will do lots for us.

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

Christina is full STEAM ahead

Christina WashingtonRecently I became a STEP FORWARD literacy volunteer which has given me the opportunity to read to third graders each week. Reading to children has been something that I have found to be surprisingly rewarding. Today, I had the pleasure of being on the opposite side of the table and was read to by my new friend, Christina Washington. Christina has published a new children’s book,  “Ms. Pearl Makes a Discovery”, designed to encourage curiosity and get children excited about learning STEAM or science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

“Ms. Pearl Makes a Discovery” has such a creative way of engaging children to explore science. Children are encouraged to see the fun in science by following the example of the exciting characters that reinforce STEAM learning.  14691045_1205398436187409_9182381999145870097_nThe story takes place at a nature park, where a female scientist named Ms. Pearl performs a variety of experiments in her laboratory with help from her animal friends. Each character in the book is representative of each STEAM section.  Sean the Squirrel, Teddy the Turtle, Elle the Elephant, Alex the Alligator, and Max the Monkey. Each character has a special talent while together exploring the fascinating world of STEAM. Readers will witness the shenanigans of Ms. Pearl and her animal friends, and be inspired to reproduce the kid-friendly experiments presented in the book. Ms. Pearl’s character is loosely based on Christina, who also happens to be a Scientist. Mrs. Washington created Ms. Pearl and the STEAM characters to reflect her love for STEAM.

I originally met Christina at the Bossier Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting of her business, Young Scholars, a premier provider of STEM educational programs and services including enrichment programs, custom learning solutions, educational workshops, test prep, and tutoring. Christina WashingtonChristina Washington is such a motivating woman, first and foremost, because she is a scientist (a physicist to be exact). She is an author, educator, Founder of Innovative Learning Solutions, and Founder and Executive Director of Young Scholars, the youth academic division of ILS. She is also a contributing author of two engineering lab manuals and now author of her new children’s book. Christina has received numerous awards for her efforts and continues to be a trailblazer in her industry. Christina is very humble and probably won’t tell you right off that she has participated in research projects at NASA and USDA, so I will tell you for her. WOW – What a woman!

Christina’s self-published book “Ms. Pearl Makes a Discovery” is currently being printed as I write and is available for pre-sale on Amazon, with an approximate ship date of November 19, 2016. All pre-sale orders will be autographed and personalized. Christina Washington is an inspiring woman who is making a great impact in the lives of young people. I encourage you to not only purchase one copy of this book, but purchase many copies to share with school children in your area.

13138993_1078445302216057_9137830259205827830_nRead more about Christina:

I’m excited to see Christina moving full STEAM ahead!

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

 

Who’s Hungry? 318 Restaurant Week Live FB Media Launch

microphone photoYou have had invitations in the past to attend press conferences, right? How often did you forget about it or you just weren’t able to attend? Well, in Shreveport-Bossier we wanted to do something different with a press conference announcing 318 Restaurant Week. We thought how about a live Facebook press conference? One that you don’t even have to leave your office to be in attendance. Cool, huh?

Yep, that’s what we are doing today. A press conference that starts on the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority Facebook page and then progressively tags over to five other social media influencers from around Shreveport-Bossier. We think this is a first, and we need your help! We need an audience. By clicking on each of the live feeds as they happen, you will be part of our audience. Because it’s a first, bear with us if there are any glitches. Just play along! And please, comment on the live feed so that we know you are there!

Who's Hungry?

Don’t miss the live Facebook event – it all starts at 10/11/16 at 11:00 am on the Shreveport DDA‘s page and then will progress to each of the following pages:

Loving This Life Jada at 11:05 am
Tiana Kennell at 11:10 am
Shreveport-Bossier ~ Louisiana’s Other Side at 11:15 am
That Just Happened – Social Robin at 11:20 am
Clint McCommon at 11:25 am
And big finale:
The Shreveport Times at 11:30 am

Make sure you like each of the mentioned page so you can get the live feed! Tune in, comment and share!

And also like the 318 Restaurant Week page and RSVP to the Facebook Event.

Let’s make 318 Restaurant Week delicious!

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This is my son, Chase. He’s going to be joining me at 11:20 for my part in this big announcement. Won’t you join us?

#EAT318

 

This is going to happen!!
Robin Williams
Holiday Lanes


Post Update: 10/11/16 at 4:45 pm

If you missed the event and still want to check it out, click on this link on Facebook to view all of the live feeds (and share). It was a super fun event and I can’t wait for #EAT318.

Why volunteer?

I had someone ask me why I volunteer? My initial reaction was “because I can”. I went on further to explain that I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to do so. The next question I received was “well, how does that help Holiday Lanes?”. I often have to explain how or why I am at so many events around town. My job as marketing director for Holiday Lanes allows for me to be involved in the community in a way that also highlights the programs and services that we offer. I respect and understand the need for salespeople and yet I’ve found it difficult to follow the cold-calling techniques that often come with jobs in sales and marketing. I find that attending events, serving on committees, and volunteering provides a way for people get to know me and what I do without having to work the hard sell edge.

readingSo how does it help Holiday Lanes? It gives us the opportunity to invest in the community. We learn about other organizations and it allows us to be a resource for those people related to the organizations.

Today, I found out that sometimes, it really has nothing to do with my job. I started as a Step Forward literacy volunteer, reading to 3rd graders. I was kind of nervous. I’ve never done this before and wasn’t sure how well I’d be around third graders. When I walked into Ms. Collins third grade class at E.B. Williams Stoner Hill Lab Elementary school, I  was actually sweating. (Ok, so humidity was like 300%, but still!) Ms. Collins introduced me to the class and each student had an opportunity to share their name with me. There were five other Williams’ in the class, and so we had something in common. I was assigned six students as my breakout group. We all gathered together in the miniature burgundy chairs and began the task of reading “Jennie and the Wolf”. I asked each student to read a paragraph to me and then asked if I could read a paragraph. They excitedly allowed me to do so. We then all read in unison. (Kinda cool!) We talked about the vocabulary words (discovery and inspired) and the moral of the story (Help others and they will help you). We compared ourselves to Jennie and the Wolf. It was such a fabulous day for me. Those kiddos really snagged me in way I hadn’t expected. I get to read to them twice a week for 30 minutes and what at first seemed like something I might dread, I can now see is going to help me be better at the rest of my work week.

This has nothing really to do with my job, but in another way, it has everything to do with my job. Sometimes I find that I don’t feel like I’m making a contribution. I get caught up in emails, quotes, booking events, and yes, volunteering. Volunteering with thirStep Forwardd graders is way different than volunteering on a committee. I think this is going to give me energy and make me better at my job.

I would encourage you to consider reading to third graders. From what I have learned, third grade is that “make or break” time in a child’s life where being able to read is an indicator of whether they will graduate from high school. This is the very basic description. You will learn more when you sign up. There is a need for volunteers in both Caddo and Bossier Parishes. If you would like more information about Step Forward please contact Laura Alderman at The Community Foundation at 318-221-0582. As I walked out of the classroom from my volunteer time, one of the young men in the class yelled out “We had fun Ms. Robin!”. That made it all worth it!

Step Forward:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

 

 

Be A Fan of Shreveport-Bossier

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In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week – May 1 -7, 2016, I invite you to Be a Fan of Shreveport-Bossier (SB). I am a super fan of SB, and love spreading the word about all of cool things to do in this area. In case you didn’t know, Shreveport-Bossier is home to a horseracing track, six casinos, 45 family attractions, and 50 annual events. I cringe when I hear someone say “there’s nothing to do here”, it is soooo not true.

Check out the video below for my top picks in SB Outdoor Adventures:

Whether you live in SB or have plans to visit, Shreveport-Bossier is filled with museums, festivals, art galleries, indoor and outdoor adventures that will keep you busy for hours. The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, and KSLA, has teamed up with SB attractions to offer some super-fabulous, exclusively deep discounts available only during Travel and Tourism week. All you have to do is register your email address at BeAFanOfSB.com. Nearly 20 discounts are being offered as part of the “Be a Fan of Shreveport-Bossier” campaign. When you sign up to receive the discounts, you will also be automatically entered to win a “staycation” package including a hotel stay at Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites in Bossier City, 2016 family 4-pack to Splash Kingdom, a $50 gift certificate to Jan’s River Restaurant, as well as a family 4-pack of tickets to Sci-port Discovery Center, a family 6-pack to Holiday Lanes and more.

You can help spread the word too by sharing your photos and experiences on social media with the hashtag #BeAFanofSB.

Here are some useful websites to help you stay engaged:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

National Travel and Tourism Week, a project of the U.S. Travel Association, was established by a congressional resolution in 1983. This week of events serves to champion the power of the tourism and hospitality industry. For more information on National Travel and Tourism Week, visit www.ustravel.org.

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Print your #BeAFanOfSB coloring sheet

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe opens in Shreveport


Congrats to Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe on their joint Bossier Chamber of Commerce and Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting.

If you are looking for a healthy and tasty option for your next meal, Taziki’s is a superb choice. Taziki’s has been certified as REAL by the United States Healthful Food council.

Taziki’s showed their commitment to the community by presenting a $3000 check to Holy Angels and will continue to support the efforts of that organization. In addition, Taziki’s will employ residents of Holy Angels.


 I’d like to tell you about all the scrumptious items on the menu, but think you would be better served by visiting and trying for yourself. I’m going to stop right here because I have a roasted pork tenderloin sandwich sitting beside me, waiting to be eaten.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Restaurant is located at 5821 Line Avenue, Suite A, Shreveport. Follow them socially:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes


  

Set up Swap: It’s Like Shopping Without Money

2016-01-20 18.20.45Open your closet. Let’s get real. How many items in there are you actually wearing? If you are like me, there are still a few pieces hanging out from the 80’s. So when my friend Meg invited me to a clothing swap at her residence, I thought “what’s a clothing swap?”. And then I thought, “no way – there will be nothing there to fit me”. And then I thought “oh goodness, I don’t want people to see the junk in my closet”. Meg shared her invite on Instagram and it explained that a clothing swap was an opportunity to freshen up your wardrobe by swapping items with friends. I actually wanted to go, and then realized it was on a day in which I had a previous engagement. So I missed my opportunity. But then my other friend Mollie, offered to host the next event and I immediately marked it on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss out again.

Clothes_Swap_Meg_Davenport_shoe_showoffSwapnista, Meg Davenport, previously worked for a public library and was tasked with setting up a new program that would encourage community involvement. Her original idea was a prom dress swap. (this was pre- Cinderella project, so you know that Meg has big ideas). Her director felt that it might not be just right, so a clothing swap was the chosen project. A clothing swap is a way to get together with friends in a party type atmosphere and share resources, in this case, clothing. Meg says that she has always been the kind of gal who enjoys garage sales and a clothing swap was just a natural progression of the garage sale idea. She figures that if she finds something that she likes and it doesn’t work, rather than pitching it, she will put it aside for the next clothing swap. She says that sometimes she is looking particular items for a one-time event and she may not want to make a big investment. A swap allows for the opportunity to search for items that might fit the bill.

Clothes_Swap_groupThe idea definitely resonated with Mollie Corbett, who attended Meg’s swap. Mollie offered to host a second clothing swap in a larger location and added housewares to the mix. Mollie recognized that Meg’s idea was something that she wanted to share with her circle of friends. Mollie started a private Facebook group and extended invitations to the event that she dubbed “Shreve Swap. The idea is simple. Invite your friends to start looking through their closets and homes. Bring clean, gently used, trade-desired clothing or houseware items that need new homes and start swapping. For each item that you bring to the swap, you can take something home in its place.

I decided the night before Shreve Swap to start looking for items to trade. I opened that scary place I like to call my closet. I hate to admit that I have clothing in my closet from sizes 4 – 24. During this process, although I was trying to find things to swap, I ended up finding some hot little numbers that I had forgotten AND I was surprised to find they actually fit. I finally settled on 25 pieces to take to Shreve Swap.

Clothes_Swap_Katy_Larsen_Hat_Find“It’s like you get to go shopping without spending any money”. – Katy Larsen

As I arrived, the racks were starting to be filled and I was a little nervous about displaying my clothes. Would my stuff be good enough? Would someone judge me for being the person who brought that ugly orange shirt? Pretty soon, I figured out that no one cared where things came from. It was fun to be able to refresh their wardrobe for free. I quickly started eyeing all of the things on display. I had 25 swaps and I couldn’t wait. My friend Katy Larsen said it best that night “It’s like you get to go shopping without spending any money”. She was so right. I left the swap with 3 scarfs, a dress (new with tags), and two blouses. I decided that I didn’t want to take home 25 items and so I left the rest of my items for Mollie to donate to local charitable organizations.

So you don’t know Mollie or Meg, and didn’t get an invite to Shreve Swap? Start your own swap. Here are some suggestions for hosting your own Clothing Swap:

Who to invite: Don’t limit your guest list. More people means more range in selections and sizes. You want lots of options. You’d be surprised to know that many of your friends have sizes in their closet that they haven’t worn in years. 

What: Decide on the type of swap you will host: Clothing, Accessories, Housewares, Books, Hats, Candles, Baby Items

When: Schedule a date that works for at least 3-5 people. Poll your friends before setting the date in stone. You may invite as many as you like, but if only 2 people show up, the selection won’t be as diverse. Schedule a date that is well in advance to give your guests an opportunity think about their swap items.

Where: Determine where you will host the event. You will need some room, depending on the size of the swap.

Display: You will want to have hanging racks for displaying items. Check out Pinterest for ways to create your own portable diy clothing racks. Ask your guests to bring hangers for their pieces, as well as donations of hangers for sharing. You will also want to have table space for other tradable items.

Clothes_Swap_browsingEncourage your friends to clear out their clutter. Give reminders about special events in town. Is it near a certain holiday? Make a suggestion to bring items that are in or off-season. Something that may seem silly might make for a great costume item.

Keep it informal. Don’t make too many rules. With the right mix of people, a light and fun atmosphere makes for a pleasant swap.

Wine and Cheese: It wouldn’t be a party without the snacks. Ask guests to bring snack items to share. Chips and Dips, or wine and cheese.

Help: Ask a few of your guests to help with set up and clean up.

After swap: Decide in advance and have a plan for the clothes that don’t get swapped. You might set out an “I’m going to host the next swap” sign up. Make sure your guests have an option of taking their items back home or leaving it behind for a next swap or you may want to give the option of taking all of the remaining items to a local charitable organization. Remember, if they leave it behind, you will have to deal with the items.

Mollie Corbett said that the power of the swap is in the variety and multiplicity of the items being swapped. Corbett pointed out that a clothing swap is a great way to rid yourself of items in your wardrobe that have become a burden. Be honest. How many items do you hang on to in the hopes of that “one day” when you will fit in it? I have items that still have price tags on them. “If you haven’t worn it in over a year to let it go”. She says when she is looking through her closet “If I wouldn’t pick it up off the rack again, it goes in the swap”.

Meg says: “If it isn’t improving your life, throw it in the swap pile”

Cltohes_Swap_group2

Suggestions for attending a Clothing Swap:

  • Bring clean, gently-used trade-worthy stuff.
  • Meg says “If anything in your closet is not improving your life, throw it in the swap pile. Take a critical eye of your wardrobe. Notice when things aren’t fitting well. Set up a swap bag or box near your closet and pitch things in that you want to bring to the swap”.
  • When attending the swap, leave your feelings at the door when it comes to your items. Someone may pick up your item and make silly comments about the style or color. Don’t take it personal.
  • See something that you like? Pick it up, you might not get the chance again.
  • Didn’t swap it this time? Save it for next time. Different invited eyes might like it on the next go-round.

A swap is a great way to clean out your closet, share things with friends that might otherwise go unused, and a way to spend happy time with friends –  a win for everyone involved. The best swap will be one that you walk away feeling like you just went shopping without spending a dime. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your swap.

Hosting a swap? Tell me about it in the comments below!

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

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