MANCHESTER, NH – When I walked through the door of Lilac & Finch earlier this week to chat with owner Leslie Boswak, I had no idea I would leave with such a sense of excitement and hope for all of the possibilities for good things right here in Manchester.
It could have been a perfect cocktail of small things that mixed together to create such a sense of optimism, after all, it was just a week after Elm Street was flooded by crowds for an epic return of Taco Tour, the sun was shining and the temperature was finally over 70, but Leslie’s sheer giddiness as she told me about the grassroots effort – Second Saturday – was contagious.
Something wonderful this way comes for our city.
Second Saturday is a collective effort to revitalize Manchester, our city that has had, until recently, a reputation with more of an emphasis on its warts than its charm. Yes, Manchester has charm, in the historical architecture on Elm Street, in the artistry of the murals, even the quirkiness of a cat-shaped bike rack, but most especially in the vibrant personalities of our small business owners.
These local shop and restaurant owners want to bring our community together and get folks back to enjoying all of the good that Manchester has to offer. And so, an email chain was created by Leslie, and as ideas began to percolate organically, Second Saturday was born.
The second Saturday of each month you can find over a dozen reasons to step outside to shop and eat local, as each of these businesses will be doing something special for their community – whether it’s in the form of an experience, or a discount on products, a free sample, balloons for kids, there is something for everyone.
A few examples of what you can expect for the May Second Saturday (May 14) in town:
- The Terracotta Room will be celebrating this second Saturday with a pop-up artisan friend called The Studio On Fern who does a lot of custom gifts and some Resin Art from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.. They will also be having doughnuts from Bird Food Baking Company.
- You can grab your free balloons from Diz’s Cafe, or spend more than $25 at Shadow and Soul and receive a free box of incense.
- Barre Life will be hosting a clothing pop-up shop with Flagship East Coast with lots of raffles and giveaways, and while supplies last, Studio 550 is handing out wildflower seed bundles to shoppers in the handmade gift shop.
- In her own beautiful shop in the north end of Elm, Lilac and Finch, Leslie will be running a number of in-store specials. One of the specials will be 10 percent off products in their refill station “Lessen Your Footprint”
And these are just a few of the wonderful things you can experience right here in Manchester tomorrow. To learn more about the project, you can visit the Downtown Manchester Facebook page or search the hashtag #secondsaturdayMHT on social media. Then you can become part of the revitalization by taking pictures of your adventures through Second Saturday and sharing them as well.
If you are a small business owner who wants to become part of this growing community, you can reach out to join the movement by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before leaving Lilac and Finch after my chat with Leslie, there was a book on display that caught my eye, “Start Where You Are.” How absolutely perfect for capturing this sense of movement and motivation to be a part of the change we want to see in our city.
I know I will be out tomorrow to visit many of these small businesses, like a tourist enjoying all of the growth and goodness right here in my own city. I hope to see you out there too.
Below: a list of current Second Saturday Participants
- AR Workshop
- Diz’s Café
- The Bookery
- Lilac + Finch
- Café la Reine
- The Terracotta Room
- Blush Beauty Boutique
- Soul & Shadow Emporium
- Studio Verne
- Creative Framing
- Pop of Color
- Queen City Cupcakes
- Studio 550
- Barre Life
- Thirsty Moose
- A&E Coffee
- Boards & Brews
- Diane Crespo Fine Art
- Framers Market
- Market Square Jewelers
- Smoothie Bus
- Statement Boutique
- Wild Orchid Bakery
Our Manchester Rising series highlights the people, businesses, entities and ideas working to elevate our city. Learn how you can support this continuing story series as well as other initiatives at the Ink Link here. Send story ideas to email@example.com for consideration.