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Businesses in the Foster Road area once again this year invited neighbors to come 'taste'...

DAVID F. ASHTON - Tasting Tour Ambassador Jason Brown, owner of PoBoy Art & Framing, showed off one of his works - a painting of Tony Clifton, an alter-ego of comedian Andy Kaufman The "Foster Road Tasting Tour" started out last year as a modest idea, hatched by members of the Foster Area Business Association (FABA).

The "Tasting Tour" involved inviting people to check out the retail businesses along S.E. Foster Road, from 50th Avenue to 82nd Avenue, by having participating restaurants, taverns, and bars offer specials on the second Saturday in July.

This year, held on July 8, this promotional event expanded, coupling with the regular "Second Saturday Art Walk on Foster". Again, businesses gave out "passports" that customers used to collect stickers from art galleries and family-friendly businesses, as well as from bars and food carts, to win prizes.

"This has gone from eight businesses participating last year, to more than twenty involved with this year, not counting additional businesses that have joined in!" smiled FABA President Matthew Micetic, owner of Red Castle Games.

Planning and promoting this year's event has increased FABA's membership, making it a good investment from that standpoint, Micetic told THE BEE. "We've instituted two metrics for measuring success: How many new customers can be directly attributed to the event, and what that means in terms of revenue."

The food and beverage establishments again did well – but this year there was a marked visible increase in foot traffic of visitors at art galleries and other retail businesses along Foster Road.

After the results were tallied up, Micetic said more than 200 customers made nearly 500 purchases during the 8-hour-long "Tasting Tour". "The second year of this new event boasted a 110% increase in participating businesses, a 98% increase in customers, and a 233% increase in sales!" he revealed.

Although Red Castle Games didn't offer art, food, or drink, owner Micetic said, "We had about 60 new people come into my business to learn about board games, and several of them made purchases."

And, the promotion is not yet completely over. They'll be drawing names from qualifying entries in August; look for the winners, and learn more about FABA, on their website – www.fosterarea.com

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