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Oct 29, 2019

Settlers Green’s ‘Bring A Friend,’ Stronger Than Ever, Celebrates its 19th Year


Bring A Friend, the wildly popular shopping weekend at Settlers Green celebrated primarily by groups of women, is coming up on its 19th anniversary. Every year, thousands of shoppers descend on North Conway to reunite with friends and family and tackle their holiday shopping list. 
 
Bring A Friend was conceived in the early 2000s to fill the void of what had historically been a quieter time for area travel and tourism in the White Mountains. Settlers Green partnered with the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce to build up November as shopping season, and it caught on like wildfire. 
 
“For years we had noticed groups of women dressing up in holiday attire in early November at the shopping center,” recalled Settlers Green General Manager Dot Seybold. “We thought, ‘there’s something here.’”
 
The first official Bring A Friend event was in November 2001, just two months after 9/11. 
 
“It was obviously a tough time in America, and we were looking to give shoppers an outlet for some fun and laughter, all while shopping in preparation for the holiday season. I think we gave away 100 shopping bags that first year and provided some free refreshments,” Seybold said.
 
Every year since, the event has grown in attendance as well as in expectation. The event often outperforms the sales and traffic of Black Friday at Settlers Green, and many stores post the top sales for their brand nation-wide during Bring A Friend. There are now 2000 shopping bags prepared every year, thousands of dollars in merchandise raffled off and a great amount of community involvement. 
 
“In the last five years, I’ve been working with local retailers, restaurants and lodging to get the entire Mt. Washington Valley involved,” said Settlers Green Marketing and Events Director Laura Lemieux. “We provide shopper itineraries with local offerings and lodging partners, so many have extended their visit from day trips to extended weekend getaways.”
 
Area lodging, restaurants and retailers have certainly felt the positive effects from the event that has continued to grow since it first began.
 
"Historically, after the busy fall foliage period and before the holidays, it was a quieter period for the hotels in North Conway,” said Carol Sullivan, Director of Sales and Marketing at the White Mountain Hotel and Resort. “Since the inception of the ‘Bring a Friend’ shopping events, we now experience sold out weekends for the first three weekends in November and it extends throughout the entire month.”
 
Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the MWVCC added, "Mt. Washington Valley recognized the value of our shopping offer and complimentary activities such as lodging, dining and spa amenities. This, combined with a traditional season of giving, created the magic formula for building a season that had previously been dormant.”
 
This year’s 19th Annual Bring A Friend Shopping Weekend is November 8-11, with the bulk of activities happening on Saturday, November 9. Aside from bargain hunting, shoppers get access to raffles, social media giveaways, experiences and entertainment during Bring A Friend. The “big day” on Saturday, November 9, kicks off with a 1500 shopping bag giveaway at 8 a.m. The entire event is free. A full listing of events, sales information and special Bring A Friend shopping hours is available at settlersgreen.com/bring-a-friend.
 

Bring A Friend, the wildly popular shopping weekend at Settlers Green celebrated primarily by groups of women, is coming up on its 19th anniversary. Every year, thousands of shoppers descend on North Conway to reunite with friends and family and tackle their holiday shopping list.

 

Bring A Friend was conceived in the early 2000s to fill the void of what had historically been a quieter time for area travel and tourism in the White Mountains. Settlers Green partnered with the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce to build up November as shopping season, and it caught on like wildfire.

 

“For years we had noticed groups of women dressing up in holiday attire in early November at the shopping center,” recalled Settlers Green General Manager Dot Seybold. “We thought, ‘there’s something here.’”

 

The first official Bring A Friend event was in November 2001, just two months after 9/11.

 

“It was obviously a tough time in America, and we were looking to give shoppers an outlet for some fun and laughter, all while shopping in preparation for the holiday season. I think we gave away 100 shopping bags that first year and provided some free refreshments,” Seybold said.

 

Every year since, the event has grown in attendance as well as in expectation. The event often outperforms the sales and traffic of Black Friday at Settlers Green, and many stores post the top sales for their brand nation-wide during Bring A Friend. There are now 2000 shopping bags prepared every year, thousands of dollars in merchandise raffled off and a great amount of community involvement.

 

“In the last five years, I’ve been working with local retailers, restaurants and lodging to get the entire Mt. Washington Valley involved,” said Settlers Green Marketing and Events Director Laura Lemieux. “We provide shopper itineraries with local offerings and lodging partners, so many have extended their visit from day trips to extended weekend getaways.”

 

Area lodging, restaurants and retailers have certainly felt the positive effects from the event that has continued to grow since it first began.

 

"Historically, after the busy fall foliage period and before the holidays, it was a quieter period for the hotels in North Conway,” said Carol Sullivan, Director of Sales and Marketing at the White Mountain Hotel and Resort. “Since the inception of the ‘Bring a Friend’ shopping events, we now experience sold out weekends for the first three weekends in November and it extends throughout the entire month.”

 

Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the MWVCC added, "Mt. Washington Valley recognized the value of our shopping offer and complimentary activities such as lodging, dining and spa amenities. This, combined with a traditional season of giving, created the magic formula for building a season that had previously been dormant.”

 

This year’s 19th Annual Bring A Friend Shopping Weekend is November 8-11, with the bulk of activities happening on Saturday, November 9. Aside from bargain hunting, shoppers get access to raffles, social media giveaways, experiences and entertainment during Bring A Friend. The “big day” on Saturday, November 9, kicks off with a 1500 shopping bag giveaway at 8 a.m. The entire event is free. A full listing of events, sales information and special Bring A Friend shopping hours is available at settlersgreen.com/bring-a-friend.