Lauren Berman, founder of All Over Newton, created LoveFEST to provide publicity to small businesses around the community as Valentine’s Day approaches.
“It gives the small businesses a leg up at a time when they truly, desperately need it,” Berman said. “And it is a way for these small businesses who don’t have resources to get their messages out about what products they have for the holidays.”
The inaugural LoveFEST is an ongoing promotion on the All Over Newton website leading up to Valentine’s Day, promoting the businesses’ holiday deals. According to Berman, it is a way for a collection of Newton businesses such as restaurants, boutiques, and florists to advertise their services.
“I tried to think of ways where the small businesses not just in Newton Centre, but throughout Newton, could be represented as part of WinterFEST, and I thought, well, let’s make it a LoveFEST,” Berman said.
In creating the event, Berman said she wanted to include as many local businesses as she could on the website. Businesses could opt into the promotional event with a $50 fee.
“The goal is to include any business that wants to be included,” Berman said. “There’s a small fee for that [marketing] which most businesses can afford, … but even for those businesses that didn’t want to do that, I’ll put you on the site. I just can’t afford to give you all the bells and whistles.”
One local business that is a part of LoveFEST is Newton’s newest florist, Derby Farm Flowers & Gardens. Lucinda Chrislip and Sonia Lackey, proprietors of Derby Farm, said they expanded the store from Arlington to Newton.
“It looks like a very dynamic area,” Lackey said. “But for us right now, it’s like we’re starting from scratch. When you move to a new area, nobody knows about you. So it’s been a little slow for us, but that’s why we’re trying to get involved with the community so we get known and so that people can start coming.”
Chrislip and Lackey said they joined LoveFEST in an effort to deepen their ties with the community.
“Our expectation of participation is just to let people know that we’re here, and telling people to actually come into our shop and see,” Lackey said.
LoveFEST is also providing a service to established businesses in Newton, including Christine’s Day Spa & Electrolysis. Though her business has been in Newton Centre for over 30 years, Christine Fordyce, owner of the spa, said she is always looking to broaden awareness of her business.
Fordyce said she is especially looking forward to the festivity surrounding Valentine’s Day and LoveFEST, as well as the added exposure that the event will provide to her business.
“I am excited just because it’s a festive thing to do,” she said. “I want to get the awareness of the boutique and what it’s all about. So the more foot traffic I get, even if it’s not a big sale, I just want them to think of us.”
The exposure from LoveFEST also allows Fordyce to support her business while continuing to donate to local charities, she said.
“I started this boutique to give 20 percent of all proceeds to local charities,” Fordyce said. “So last year, from March to the end of December, we gave $9,000 to local charities in Newton. I committed to one more year of doing it—I’ll probably keep doing it, but I committed to another year—and this month is the Newton Food Pantry.”
The LoveFEST website has already received 3,700 clicks, Berman said in an email to The Heights on Feb. 12. She is going to have a table at WinterFEST dedicated to helping distribute the online orders placed using the LoveFEST promotions highlighted on the website.
“I believe that the community wants to support small businesses,” Berman said. “They just need to know who they are, and where they are, and what they have.”
Featured Graphic by Annie Corrigan / Heights Editor