Bouncing Back from a Tornado
DISCLAIMER: This is the personal blog of Alexa L. Barnett and does not reflect any position of her employer.
On May 27, 2019 The Shoppes at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek was hit by one of the nineteen Memorial Day Tornadoes that tore through Ohio. 1,177 structures were damaged that day, and 5,699 structures were destroyed throughout Montgomery County.
The property sustained enough damage that everyone had too close during the rebuild. Aldi was not able to reopen until late August. The tornado removed a large portion of their roof and destroyed their inventory.
The property manager handled the initial aftermath and communicated with tenants and vendors throughout the rebuild. After many months of hard work, everyone was able to reopen, and BSMP wanted to celebrate, which is where I came in.
TASK: throw the best Grand Reopening / Fall Festival that Beavercreek has ever seen!
I had 60 days to:
Negotiate prices and secure Digital & Print Advertising in local publications
Create Marketing Materials / Press Kit
Hire a DJ, food trucks, and face painter
Prepare and distribute a Weather & Safety Evacuation Plan to tenants
Coordinate a Fire Truck & Police Cruiser Tour
Organize a raffle and lawn games
And many other exciting things!
DAY OF: did not go according to plan, but it was still a success
It was pouring rain, freezing cold, and windy. We had to figure out how to run a cable to the roof to get enough power for the DJ's equipment, and I spent a good bit of time wrangling balloons and tents so they wouldn't fly away. Did you know balloons lose helium and sink when it's cold...which it was!
Despite sinking balloons, high winds, and overall poor weather, people came out to shop, eat, play games and celebrate. The center received good media coverage, and a local news station was kind enough to interview me about the festival on the 5 o'clock news.
While brought on by tragic circumstances, I was so grateful for this opportunity. It taught me a ton about communication, organization, marketing and event planning. It also let me get to know the tenants on a deeper level than an assistant property manager typically would, but my biggest takeaway was a reminder that little things really can matter the most. The tenants and I rallied together to plan this event and I was humbled by how appreciative and engaged everyone was during the planning process. BSMP has the BEST tenants, and I truly could not have pulled it off without their help.
MANY THANKS TO:
Beavercreek Fire & Police Department
Billie Gold Bubble Tea, Twisted Tacos, Rolling Indulgence, Dayton Urban BBQ, Home With Ashley and Events by Maddy
Carl Storey, for trusting me with this task, and for practicing patience when answering the million and one questions I asked
Alexa L. Barnett is the assistant property manager at Baker Storey McDonald Properties, Inc.