, Newburyport, MA

April 6, 2013

Staging a benefit

Mill 77 has designs on a promotion for a local cause

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — Mill 77 Trading Company will be hosting a Guerilla Staging Competition this weekend to help show off the store’s goods while raising money for Our Neighbors’ Table.

The goal for competitors will be to create vignettes showcasing a certain category of goods sold at Mill 77, and everything in the store is fair game. Each team will be given an area to work and 40 minutes to set up their display, and throughout that time, photos and videos will be taken to allow voters to have a clear view of the team’s vision.

Once each team’s vignette has been filmed, they will be posted on YouTube and viewers will have a chance to vote on their favorite.

Julie Bergeron, owner of Mill 77, said she hopes the competition serves as a good way to market the store while engaging with its customer base.

“We had one of our dealers suggest that we do videos of glassware, ceramics and such to put on YouTube to show customers what we’re about,” Bergeron said. “So we made it into a competition so people can create their own vignettes.”

At the start of the competition, Bergeron said teams would choose a category out of a hat to determine the focus of their display. The categories range from traditional items like “lamps and lighting” to more creative ones like “make yourself at home” and “mantiques.”

If a team doesn’t like their chosen category, they’ll have a second chance to pick another, Bergeron said, but they’ll have to stick with their second pick.

Bergeron said all merchandise utilized must be for sale within Mill 77 and nothing can be brought in from the outside, although team members themselves can double as props for the design.

Fourteen teams had signed up for the competition by late this week; 20 spots in all were available. Registration costs $10. Bergeron said those who sign up online would be notified within 24 hours of their staging time.

The competition will run throughout the weekend, with voting conducted from April 12 to 26. The winners will receive $500 in cash, while second and third place will win Mill 77 Trading Co. gift certificates worth $150 and $100 respectively.

The proceeds from the registrations will benefit Our Neighbors’ Table. Mill 77 also will be holding a food drive to coincide with the competition through April 14. Among the most needed items are cereal, soups, canned meals, juice, canned meat, pasta and rice, tomato products, peanut butter and jelly, canned vegetables, canned fruit, baked beans and personal care items.

“We’re really excited to be helping a great cause and looking forward to seeing how these videos come out,” Bergeron said.