Hamilton hospitality event in the works, to be ‘like a big citywide party’

The business community along Hamilton’s High-Main corridor and urban core is planning to celebrate during a week in July its small shops, bars and restaurants this summer, akin to “a big citywide Hamilton party.”

Tentatively named Hamilton Hospitality Week, this weeklong jubilee will also underscore an aspect that makes Hamilton special, said Tyler McCleary, a co-founder of Hamilton Amusement and Hospitality Association and general manager at Tano Bistro.

“We all have our businesses and our responsibilities, but we’re great at collaborating. And that’s what this will highlight more than anything,” said McCleary, who’s leading the organization of the hospitality week. “You collaborate within industries, across industries, and as a city as a whole; that’s what we’re trying to showcase with a weeklong celebration of what we’ve done and what we’ve got going forward.”

Hamilton Hospitality Week, scheduled for July 10 to 16, is not just a celebration, but a showcase of the business community “and really roll out the red carpet for people to come,” said Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

His goal for the week, Bates said, is to “make it fun to be in Hamilton, and the shops, bars and restaurants, and everyone collaborating, working together,” adding that he wants “to make this cool, and unlike anything, anyone’s done before.”

The week of July 10 was chosen for the hospitality week because it’s the week after the July 4th holiday, which is typically a down time for businesses during the summer.

“We can maybe take a week that’s normally not your strongest week and turn it into a powerhouse,” Bates said during an organizational meeting via Zoom Wednesday morning.

McCleary said the planning phase of the week is still in the early stages, but ultimately, “We just want to get people out and about at different businesses and show what we have to offer.”

Organizers also want other aspects of the community involved, namely the city’s arts community, similar to what happened during Sculpture Week last year in Hamilton when some restaurants and businesses hosted temporary art installations. Additionally, McCleary said he’d like to see some type of community forum ― as was done during Sculpture Week ― that relates to the retail and restaurant businesses, adding, “there are a lot of good topics to talk about.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Business owners, like Sarah Dankhoff of Wildfire Hygge Goods+Home and Kelly Robinson of High Main Laserworks, are looking forward to the week, both of who participated in the organizational Zoom call.

Dankhoff, who has two locations, a dedicated gift shop on High Street and a home shop and studio on North Second Street, said she’s “excited to participate” and suggested to the organizers that retail shops should change their hours that week to align more with the restaurant hours.

Hamilton Hospitality Week will not only see weeklong events happening but possibly see special tutorials each day, Bates said, like how to make a certain cocktail or learn about home decor trends, “so everyone has an opportunity to do something that can be marketed, so that every day there’s stuff happening.”

LocalMotive is expected to have its fleet of four electric vehicles traversing Hamilton’s urban core during Hospitality Week, said CEO Dustin Ward. The business is operated by Dustin Ward and his brothers, Derrick and Devan Ward, all of whom are Hamilton natives. The business, which is funded through advertising, provides free rides to people in a GEM e6 that will circle a 2.5-mile loop.

Dustin Ward told the Journal-News they’ll be launching their electric vehicles this spring.

The week will not just be about the businesses of Hamilton but the communities, McCleary said, adding there could be an opportunity for a job fair, as well as collaborating with a charity and nonprofit organizations, possibly with groups like 17Strong, Healthy Hamilton Coalition, and HYPE Hamilton.

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