A LOT O’ NOTL, another successful initiative by Shaw Guild volunteers, saw 100 boxes filled with beautiful gifts purchased at local stores, delivered to residents Friday.
In November, “word was leaked out on social media” that 100 boxes were available, at a cost of $100 each. That, added to the list they had of people who had participated from their first gift box project, made the quick response overwhelming, says Cheryl Morris, Shaw Guild communications chair. The boxes sold out well before the deadline for orders, with several orders for more than one box.
This project, intended to be just in time for holiday gift-giving, was building on the idea conceived in August by Shaw company member Emily Lukasik, who approached the Shaw Guild with an initiative to support Niagara-on-the-Lake merchants, who were suffering from the decline of tourism as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
Guild members assembled boxes filled with “carefully curated items” from local merchants, says Morris, showcasing a variety of products representative of our town.
It was so successful, she says, with such positive feedback, “we decided to do it again,” increasing the number of boxes from 50 at $50, offered only to guild members, to 100 at $100 still selling out in record time.
Volunteers visited many stores, carefully choosing suitable items that not only represented the town but fit in the boxes perfectly, making a beautiful, creative display when they were open, as envisioned by Lukasik. The assembly of the boxes took the longest time, says Morris.
Reviews from purchasers following the first project were enormously positive, says Morris. Two key factors were the element of surprise, which was repeated this time, with purchasers not knowing what was inside the boxes until they opened them; and items including freshly-baked goodies that were picked up the morning of delivery.
“The A LOT O’ NOTL team was so excited by the enthusiasm with which the pilot was received that we simply couldn’t resist creating a holiday edition,” says Lukasik. “During such an isolating and challenging year, I’m so grateful for the sense of community I’ve felt through the A LOT O’ NOTL project.”
Laurie Harley, Shaw Guild past-president, says, “the guild’s mandate has always included promoting the Shaw Festival in the community and Emily’s idea to help local merchants was a perfect match. It’s the kind of project we love — creating new relationships, supporting the community, and having fun at the same time. Our sincere thanks to Emily. She is our inspiration and her creative talents made this all possible.”
“The team loved it, the merchants were happy to participate, and don’t discount us doing it again,” says Morris.
The Shaw Guild is a large group of volunteers who support and promote the Shaw Festival. Visit shawguild.ca for more information.