Center City District SIPS is the happiest of happy hours in Philadelphia — not only for the after-work crowd sipping on cocktails and cold beers, but for the more than 60 participating bars, beer gardens, and restaurants that enjoy a healthy boost in business every Wednesday.
SIPS returned this summer after a two-year pause. We asked a few Center City establishments about how SIPS has benefited their businesses, especially as they recover from what has been an extraordinarily challenging time for restaurants and retail.
Q&A with Emma DeGennaro, Marketing Manager at City Winery
For the team at City Winery, which opened at the end of 2019 at 990 Filbert Street in the Philadelphia Fashion District, this summer was their very first SIPS happy hour. City Winery marketing manager Emma DeGennaro was pleased with the inaugural SIPS season.
Q: How has being a SIPS participant benefited your establishment?
A: We see a lot of new faces each week and it's been great getting a crowd that hasn't had the chance to check out our venue yet. We have guests in here all the time for concerts, but I think a lot of people forget that we have a restaurant and great patio space too. We've also been seeing guests come back for other events like booking a wine tasting on the weekend or inquiring about hosting a private events with us.
Q: Did your Wednesday happy hour crowds seem excited to take part in SIPS again?
A: Definitely! We saw a lot of new faces each week and it seemed like the guests were eager to check out spots they hadn't been to yet. Here, we were seeing a lot of large parties like after work happy hours. Groups of 10-30 enjoying hanging out on the patio or grabbing spots at the bar.
Q: Did you have more customers when SIPS was happening, compared to other days during the workweek?
A: Definitely. Mondays and Tuesdays are typically slower days of the week, and Wednesdays used to be pretty similar, but since SIPS has started our Wednesday happy hours have been the busiest time of the week. Again, a lot of large parties during SIPS which is great because we definitely have the space to accommodate them!
This year, CCD introduced a new way to support retailers by capitalizing on the increase in foot traffic that happens on SIPS Wednesdays — we call it SIPS Style. Every Wednesday since June 1, participating boutiques, shops, and salons have been offering 25% off select items and services.
Ursula Augustine, Owner of Ursula's About Phace™ Rittenhouse Makeup Studio
Ursula Augustine, owner of Ursula’s About Phace™ Rittenhouse Makeup Studio, was a SIPS Style participant. We asked Ursula, who is celebrating her 15th year glamming up customers on Rittenhouse Row, about her success with SIPS Style.
Q: What made you decide to take part in SIPS Style?
A: Through the years we’ve always had a nice rapport with the CCD, and participating in the various CCD campaigns, such as SIPS Style has been enjoyable and profitable. I knew taking part in SIPS happy hours would be a great way to create an additional incentive for people (who haven’t left for the shore) to get their brows sculpted & tinted, lashes enhanced, and makeup kicked up a notch, prior to ‘Sippin’ around town.
Q: Were your shoppers familiar with SIPS happening on Wednesdays?
A: Yes. My online promotions of SIPS made both my regulars as well as my new clients (who continue to move to Philly since the start of the pandemic) more familiar with the Wednesday nights happenings in the city.
Les Schwartzberg, Owner of LR2
Les Schwartzberg of LR2, a family-owned men’s clothing boutique located in Liberty Place for 16 years, said SIPS Style provided visibility to his business.
Q: How has participating in SIPS Style benefited your establishment?
A: Increased exposure and outreach to Center City District's patrons and their followers on social media.
Bill Weigle, Manager of Ten Thousand Villages
We posed the same question to Bill Weigle, manager of Ten Thousand Villages, which sells handcrafted products made by artisans from more than 35 countries.
Q: Has participating in SIPS Style benefited your establishment?
A: We have seen an uptick in traffic on Wednesdays. It's been a great opportunity to share our mission to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our local market through long-term, fair-trading relationships. Our clients especially get excited about the 25% off discount we offer on jewelry from 4:30-7 p.m.!
While this season of SIPS (and SIPS Style) is coming to a close, please continue to support Center City businesses year-round! Looking forward to seeing you at SIPS in 2023.