|Shari Ralish, owner of Peaceful Parlour in Geneva, talks tea with a guest at the Geneva Public Library. Kevin Botterman photo|
Shari Ralish is a retailer with a keen sense for community-oriented marketing.
Ralish owns Peaceful Parlour, 212 S. Third St. in downtown Geneva, an “eco-chic boutique” she opened five years ago, during the early days of the Great Recession.
Ralish partnered with the Geneva Public Library to provide tea service during a Civil War history presentation Nov. 8 at the library.
During a program intermission, Ralish poured a variety of teas for audience members, explained characteristics of each offering and managed to share information about her business.
“It’s a nice opportunity to meet people and tell them about my business,” Ralish said during a lull in the tea service.
The tea proved popular with the audience. Several guests returned to the service table for refills or to sample another tea. Most asked questions about the teas and inquired about the business hours at Ralish’s shop.
“It’s all very informal, and everyone seems comfortable asking questions,” Ralish said. “They learn about my products, and find a one or two they really enjoy.”
Ralish said it is important for business owners to identify ways to build relationships with new customers while reinforcing existing ties, particularly during a weak economy.
During the summer months, Ralish offers a series of musical programs on the grounds outside her shop and frequently hosts special events inside the store.
The Civil War program was Ralish's second opportunity to share tea and product information at the library. She presented a program last January devoted to tea.
“Attendance exceeded our expectations. We shared a lot of information and started some good relationships. It was wonderful” Ralish said.
Kimberly Gotches, a public relations and outreach coordinator at the library, said Ralish’s program last January was so popular it serves as a model for the type of programming the library seeks to present in partnership with local businesses.
The library encourages local businesses to submit program proposals, said Gotches. A popular program can offer benefits for everyone involved, she said.
To learn more about Peaceful Parlour, call Ralish at 630-232-6300. For more information about the library's outreach efforts, call 630-232-0780.
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