A "Men's Night Out" promotion Thursday evening—three days before Valentine's Day–will kick off a series of special weekly shopping events at downtown businesses.
Up to 40 stores and restaurants will be open until at least 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through May and will offer special discounts and other treats to shoppers. Each week will have a different theme, including "Grand Opening Night" on Feb. 18, "Mom's Night Out" on March 11, a "Hearts for Haiti" musical promotion involving Madison High School on March 18 and a "Rose City Green Fair" at Whole Foods on April 29.
Seventeen businesses are planning special promotions for "Men's Night Out" this Thursday.
New Leaf Consignment at 16 Park Ave. will offer 10 percent off Valentine's Day gift certificates. In addition, customers will qualify for 25 percent off one item of their choosing. Arleen Gaetani, who has owned the store for 16 years, said she joined the Madison Chamber of Commerce in June and has seen an increase in business since then.
The Birdhouse at Madison at 266 Main St. is offering 25 percent off all birdhouses Thursday.
"I do think that these Chamber of Commerce projects bring more shoppers into Madison," said the store's owner, Bill Schoenebaum. "Many people in town support shopping locally and this event, like others that the Chamber sponsors, gives customers an opportunity to spend their money in local businesses."
Schoenebaum also said it's fun to be a part of such events.
"You get to keep inventing ways to get shoppers into your store."
Ron Waksman, owner of Chocolate Rose Shoppe at 7 Waverly Place, said participating in recent chamber promotions, such as January Sales Days and Holiday Shopping Days in December, has helped his business, which opened in September.
On Thursday, Waksman expects about 50 people at the store, which is hosting the launch of "Hearts for Haiti," a fund-raising effort to help people suffering from the Jan. 12 earthquake in that impoverished island nation. The launch is from 7 to 9 p.m. Eight local artists who designed note cards for sale will be on hand, and there will be wine, cheese and chocolates, provided by Main Street Wine Cellars, Whole Foods and Chocolate Rose Shoppe, respectively.
All proceeds from the note-card sales will go to the American Red Cross.
Among other special events planned for Thursday are a tasting of ports and chocolates at Gary's Wine & Marketplace, 121 Main St.; a free "try it" men's yoga class at Studio Yoga, 2 Green Village Road; and "all you can bowl for $9" from 9:30 p.m. to midnight at Plaza Lanes bowling alley, 300 Main St.
Restaurant specials include 15 percent off your entire bill, excluding liquor, at Rocco's Tuscany Bar and Grill, 30 Cook Plaza; free "Madison tote bags" filled with goodies for the first 30 men who dine this Thursday at Nicky's Firehouse Restaurant & Pizza, 15 Central Ave.; and 10 percent off their meal, excluding alcohol, when customers bring a receipt for something bought in town on Thursday at Poor Herbie's, 13 Waverly Place.
For information about "Late Night Thursdays," go online to https://gov.rosenet.org/agencies/ilovemadison/pages/late-night-thursdays