Get Fresh!!

Benton residents, Greg and Jessica Bennett, are getting fresh! Their new restaurant, Get Fresh Deli & Frozen Yogurt, had a Bossier Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting to celebrate their grand opening today, July 7, 2017. Get Fresh is a locally family owned deli, with an awesome menu. Greg says the Turkey, Avocado BLT is a favorite. Twelve flavors of frozen yogurt, sandwiches, wraps, salads and pizza round out the deliciousness. Catering is available and Greg is looking forward to connecting with the community.

Get Fresh Deli & Frozen Yogurt is located in the Bella Terra shopping center at 187 Burt Blvd in Benton, LA. Stop by soon and let them know I sent ya.

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams

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

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.

All Y’all Social Glue

11073554_10204945908980605_1294152985240062350_nI recently ran across the words “social glue”. What I understood social glue to be is a way of bonding or connecting people through various actions and/or sharing commonalities. The first thing that I thought about was storytelling, and, in particular, the All Y’all Live Storytelling Events and Podcasts, that my friends Chris Jay and Sara Hebert produce. Chris and Sara are providing a safe space for people in the Shreveport-Bossier community to share experiences and situations through very personal storytelling. No scripts or notes . . . just get on stage in front of, oh, say a couple hundred people, and speak from the heart.

It never occurred to me that being a storytelling could be such a powerful glue that binds a community until I experienced myself. It was the night before the “Under the Influence” All Y’all event when I was contacted by Chris asking if I’d be willing to step in as a substitute for one of the storytellers. I had previously mentioned that I might be interested, and I had been thinking about the possibility but was by no means prepared to step in less than 24 hours before the scheduled event. What the heck? I said “yes”. I didn’t really know what I would say, nor if I would be able to say it. Chris said he’d call me back in a few hours to discuss the details. When he called me later, he apologized and basically said, “nevermind, it’s not fair to ask you on such short notice”. I knew in the moment that I had to do it. I agreed under the condition that I may chicken out at the last minute. That’s the great thing about Chris, whether he was fine with that, or not, he said something like, “don’t you worry, just give me a signal and we’ll keep on rolling with the show”.

10995707_10204945854619246_6626746765654232419_nThe day of the event, I only told four people (two of which were my kids) that I would be speaking that night. I didn’t want the pressure of people giving me encouragement and then bailing on them. I have struggled my entire life with shyness and social anxiety and this was going to be a huge step for me, although, at the time, I had no idea how HUGE. I practiced all day, recording on my iPhone and realized that there was no way that I’d be able to go through with it. My voice was just not there. I worried that no one would even be able to hear me. I was making myself sick with anxiety. As I sat in the audience waiting for my turn, I wasn’t sure until that last second if I could do it, and then I stood up. I walked to the stage and I started telling my story. My voice was there. And soon, there were people nodding, and smiling, and laughing, and . . .  bonding with me. The social glue began to flow.

11751413_10205857145360945_6455528596976410319_nBut that was just the beginning. After the event, as I entered the lobby, the connections started to set in as each person who came up to me said things like “your story is my story”, “I have struggled with the same issue for years”,  “You are so brave”. I then met Karen, who had been sitting in a middle seat near the front row, and had become my anchor for getting through the tough parts of my story. She helped me by giving me something to affix to in the audience. For the next few weeks, I’d be attending an event or walking through the grocery store and someone would stop me to say they had been at the All Y’all event and how much it meant to them. In addition, my life has been enhanced by the friendships I’ve built with other storytellers. Jennifer and Esther were the first two storytellers that I met and I can’t begin to tell you how they have influenced my life. (Jennifer was one of the four people I told that I was speaking that night, so there ya go.)

Below the surface, we are all struggling with something. By sharing (and listening to) stories, we can recognize ourselves in others and become connected through sameness. I have come to realize that Chris and Sara are not just providing social glue for our community, they are pouring social cement. Shreveport-Bossier is most definitely strengthened by All Y’all and the bonds being built are amazing.

To learn more about All Y’all:

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

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This weekend, is the first ever, multi-night event at East Bank Theatre in Bossier City. “Momma,” an evening of stories about moms, motherhood and more, will be held on Friday, March 11, 2016. “Daddy,” featuring stories from, to and about fathers and fatherhood, will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016. Unfortunately, Friday is sold out and Saturday only has a few more tickets. BUT WAIT!! I have a ticket for both nights to give away.

And, how do you WIN THE GIVEAWAY?

One lucky That Just Happened blog reader will receive a ticket from season sponsor Holiday Lanes to both Friday 3/11/16 and Saturday 3/12/16 events. Simply go to ALL Y’ALL BLOG, listen to a few of the podcasts, paste your favorite storyteller title in the comments section of this blog below. (It doesn’t have to be my podcast, but here is the link in case your want it: UNDER THE INFLUENCE: ROBIN WILLIAMS, “MR. BOURQUE”) . Winner will be announced on Friday, March 11, 2016 at around noon.

UPDATE 3/11/16: Congrats Pat Gill – you are the winner!

 

How to find inspiration in Shreveport-Bossier (and a Giveaway)

FullSizeRender-1Do you have something that makes you cringe when you hear it? Something that drives you to roll your eyes and stomp your feet? I sure do. When I hear the phrase “there’s nothing to do in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana” I have to restrain myself from completely wigging out. You see, when I first moved to Shreveport-Bossier, I will admit that I said it myself. I moved here from South Louisiana and I really just wanted to go home. For many years, I went to work and then headed straight to my house. On occasion, I looked to the arts and entertainment section of the newspaper to find things that might be of interest to my family. I didn’t know many people that could help connect me to the community, so I just stayed home. That was then. And now, I subscribe to the thought that there are things to do wherever you may be.

Somewhere along the way I found out that if I wanted to be connected to a community, I first needed to leave my house, and secondly, I had to put some effort in on my part. I kind of had to be a researcher in my own life. I started, uncomfortably and awkwardly, attending events. I visited tourist welcome centers to find attractions located in Shreveport-Bossier. I scoured the newspapers to find events. I asked people what was going on in town. As the internet became more ingrained in my life, Googling and Facebook events became the go-to places for my inspiration. These are all fantastic ways to get information, and I will maintain that flow, but my favorite way to get the SB scoop is through the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s (SBCTB) newly redesigned website Shreveport-Bossier.org. Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 3.36.00 PMThis website has been around for a while and was already one of my go-to sites, and in particular, the SB Fun Guide link that holds the events page. Today the SBCTB unveiled a redesign of the website with a celebratory launch party at Great Raft Brewing. SBCTB President Stacy Brown gave an introduction to area partners and shared some of the new features of the website. With the redesign, there is so much inspiration and a resource for both locals and tourism visitors. What you will find out is that Shreveport-Bossier has more to do than you can even imagine.

What can you expect to find on the site?  Maps, brochures, photo and video galleries, trip advisor and social media integration, geo-triggers for coupons and events, and itinerary planning:

  • CASINOS – gaming, night life and horse racing
  • THINGS TO DO – Attractions, shopping, family fun, sports, nightlife, group experiences and outdoor recreation. Be sure to click on the Attractions Link to see the multitude of experiences such as performing arts, museums, art galleries and historic places. There is also a great link for free offerings!
  • EVENTS – Festivals, music and annual events – <<<< This is one of my favorite parts of the site because it hosts the SB FUN GUIDE, which is the event driven piece
  • RESTAURANTS – food and drinks!
  • HOTELS – where to stay
  • MY TRIP – a personal trip planner to build an itinerary for a visit to the big SB

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.06.05 AMIn my job at Holiday Lanes, I have become active in the SB Attractions Association and am currently serving as president of the association. One of my personal goals is to share local event information with as many people as possible in the community. First, I’m asking my attraction/hotel/restaurant/travel industry colleagues to BE AWARE that you can UPDATE your venues on the newly designed site; and ADD events to the SB Fun Guide. For the event driven page to be successful, it will take input from those who are planning, marketing or hosting local events. The SB Fun Guide is also undergoing redesign and will hopefully be launched next week (Feb 2016). Secondarily, I want this site to be top-of-mind for locals and visitors when looking for inspiration for things to do in Shreveport-Bossier.  Chris Jay, social media and public relations manager of the SBCTB, says that he is super excited that the new site will allow easy and quick uploading of featured events which will showcase partners, whether they are festivals, restaurants or attractions. Ideally, a venue would like to promote for several weeks, or months, prior to an event, but being able to make changes in a matter of minutes will be transformative for local tourism partners who might find themselves in need of a last-minute promotional boost.

So . . . how do you find inspiration in Shreveport-Bossier?

And, how do you WIN A GIVEAWAY?

One lucky That Just Happened blog reader will receive Bowling for Six people from Holiday Lanes. Simply go to Shreveport-Bossier.org, find the attractions link and locate the Holiday Lanes link on the site. Paste the Holiday Lanes Attraction page link in the comments section below AND THEN tell me which part of the Shreveport-Bossier.org website gave you a bit of inspiration. Winner will be announced on February 17, 2016.

Panderina Soumas and David Doe, local ambassadors and SB visitor guide cover models share a smile at the website Launch Party.

Other ways to connect with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau:

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

 

2/17/16 – CONGRATS Bill McGill – you are the winner of a bowling certificate for six to Holiday Lanes!

 

Keeping Rhythm of Life

IMG_5971Fireworks and congratulations to the Residence Inn by Marriott located at 501 Traffic Street in Bossier City on their Bossier Chamber of Commerce and Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting. Owner, Mike Kalthia welcomed the guests with great excitement.

RI Owner, Mike Kalthia and Bossier Chamber of Commerce President, Lisa Johnson

RI Owner, Mike Kalthia and Bossier Chamber of Commerce President, Lisa Johnson

With 131 rooms, Bossier City’s newest hotel boosts many great amenities, such as free laundry, fully equipped kitchens, and free breakfast. The Residence Inn Shreveport-Bossier City/Downtown is an all suite hotel, with extended stay as a focus and is a Dimension Development managed property. Although extended stay is a focus, Residence Inn can accommodate any overnight stays. Jennifer Boone, sales manager says that one of the great things about Residence Inn is that they assist their guests in keeping the rhythm of life. Traveling can disrupt normal routines and Residence Inn’s offer ways for guests to continue to thrive in their personal and business routines.

One service that all Residence Inn’s provide, but very few take advantage of is complimentary grocery shopping. Leave a list at the front desk and your food will be waiting in your room upon your return. This is an important part of my travel life, as I try to maintain a somewhat heathy diet. Many times, I walk to nearby grocery stores in an effort to maintain my normal eating habits. Now that I know this bit of info, I will be looking forward to using the service. This makes it easy to travel with a plan.

In addition to hotel rooms, the Residence Inn has tasteful and spacious event areas for meetings and conferences with catering services available.

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Ethel, Gary and Felicia want to make your stay fabulous

New business is always great for Shreveport-Bossier and I hope you’ll keep Residence Inn at the front of your mind when in need of hotel rooms for family and work associates. General Manager, Gary Theus, promises to offer the best service around.

Residence Inn Shreveport-Bossier City/Downtown is located at 501 Traffic Street, Bossier City, LA 71111. (318) 584-7125

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

 

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Fireworks add to the ribbon cutting festivities