Sweets, Treats and Wine event promotes local businesses
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 1, 2012 09:03
Waterford Lakes Town Center was busier than usual on Saturday, Feb. 25, when Simon Malls hosted its second annual Sweets, Treats and Wine event from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Complete with live music, unlimited wine sampling and food tasting, this event was a hit for stores and consumers alike.
Jamie Fraser, director of marketing and business development for the Waterford Lakes Town Center, said that there were approximately 250 pre-sold tickets and expected about 750 more guests by the end of the night, which would put the event on par with last year.
Armbands were sold for $20 per person the day of the event, giving guests access to free food and wine samples from more than a dozen local businesses that set up tents around the front entrance of the town center. More companies, including T-Mobile, Best Buy, Lach Orthodotists and Jackson Hewitt, were also represented at the event offering coupons and entrances to contests to win merchandise and free services.
Many of the smaller, lesser known companies saw the event as an ideal opportunity to expose their product to a large number of customers and hoped it would bring more business in the near future.
"I could definitely see a lot more people coming through after the festival," said Danielle Alvarez, daughter of the owner of Cupcake Crazy on Alafaya Trail in the Stoneybrook Marketplace. "It's been a bit slow. We've been in the store for about six months, so we're fairly new."
Cupcake Crazy is located on Alafaya Trail in the Stoneybrook Marketplace, and Alvarez claims that what makes their cakes different from other companies is the fact that all of their food is homemade with no added sugar.
"We go to the Avalon Park festivals all the time, so we were excited when someone came in and invited us to be in the event," said Karen Alvarez, owner of Cupcake Crazy.
Larry Bach, owner of Sprinkles Custom Cakes in Winter Park, said that Simon Malls contacted him with an opportunity to join the event.
"It's a way of exposing my business without literally having to pay to get in," Bach said. "There are a lot of opportunities for me to pay to be in something, but in this case the only thing it's costing me is the payment of my labor and the product."
Sprinkles Custom Cakes specializes in creating custom three-dimensional cakes for every occasion. The business was also featured on last Thursday's Good Morning America for a new line of custom deserts called Cake Shooters, which will be shipped around the country. For the chocoholics at the Sweets, Treats and Wine event, Sprinkles offered a chocolate raspberry cupcake.
"We call it our ‘Oh My God' cake, because that's what people say when they try it," Bach said.
The event also offered new exposure to some different types of businesses not well known in the Orlando area. O2 Breathe offers oxygen bars to guests. David Albert, a sophomore digital media major at UCF and an employee for O2 Breathe, explained that the increased levels of oxygen help clear the mind and can even relieve migraines.
"I've had a good amount of people coming by to try us out, but I've had a couple people thinking this was like some kind of gimmick," Albert said. "This is oxygen; it's not like smoking tobacco. It's good for you."
Albert said that even though O2 Oxygen doesn't have a centralized store, it sets up in clubs and different venues like House of Blues on a regular basis. He thinks that coming to this event gives a new type of crowd the opportunity to try something new.
"Sweets, Treats and Wine festival started at one of the Simon malls in Miami as a sweets event where they have unlimited wine and food sampling," Fraser said. "It was very successful down there, and they decided to bring it to all Simon malls."
Fraser feels that the event is good for both the community and the stores because it brings in traffic and increases the number of customers to the businesses involved. With the number of guests that attended and the satisfaction of the companies that displayed products, it's clear that the event was a success.