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      Ottumwa's Ladies Night Out will benefit downtown commerce

      This Friday is Ladies Night Out in Ottumwa. The first-ever event is being put on by Main Street Ottumwa and about a dozen sponsors, including the Legacy Foundation.

      The event will be a combination of a fun night out for groups of girlfriends and a great promotion of the commerce downtown Ottumwa has to offer. Main Street Ottumwa Executive Director Bob Untiedt said the event has been several months in the making.

      The idea began when Main Street received a Technical Assistance Grant several months ago. MSO used the funding to conduct a survey with downtown business owners and consumers to find out what people want to see downtown. Many business owners expressed a desire for collective marketing with nearby businesses.

      So that's exactly what Ladies Night Out will do. The event involves 28 local businesses and there will be a trolley running downtown to help make each stop of the night accessible.

      The hope is that the night will further promote the goal of expanded hours for downtown businesses.

      "By educating people, by showing them 28 different businesses that are here and incrementally, I think we'll be able to extend hours and people will become customers of these particular businesses," Untiedt said.

      Friday's event is completely free and begins at 5:30 p.m. at Market on Main. There, guests will receive a swag bag with a variety of items, including a passport stamp book. By stamping each business you visit throughout the night, you are eligible for prizes and raffles given out at the end of the event at the Hotel Ottumwa. The biggest prize is a washer and dryer set donated by Bridge City TV and Appliance.

      There will be presentations throughout each stop and many businesses are teaming up to promote that collaborative marketing spirit. The Little Bake Shop will be hosting Morgan's Corner to talk about pairing different alcohol choices with cupcakes.

      Untiedt said Main Street Ottumwa is already in the planning process of the next similar event.

      The businesses participating Friday are: Appanoose Rapids, Ashlie's Jewelry, Bailey's Office Supplies, Bliss Salon and Spa, The Bridal Cottage, Bridge City TV and Appliance, Edward Jones Financial Advising/Dennis Hohn, Elegance by Design, Essential Massage and Spa, Expert Tire, Farmer's Insurance, Fuel, Hotel Ottumwa, La Cabana, Lee's Photography, The Little Bake Shop, Lucky Rooster, Market on Main, NuCara Pharmacy, The Optical Shop, O'Town Market, Ottumwa Flea Market, Owl's Nest, Sugar, Trends Styling Salon, Dr. David Tucker, West Music and Work it Out Fitness.