Waldo will be hiding out in Camden-area businesses this July. And those who track him down could win prizes.
But the real winners will be the businesses themselves.
Books on Broad proprietor Laurie Slade Funderburk cooked up the idea for hosting a “Where’s Waldo?” event to stoke spending at local shops during a typically dry summer period. Similar events – sponsored by Candlewick Press and the American Booksellers Association – are held at 265 locations throughout the country, Funderburk said.
“It’s a unique idea to try and attract folks to downtown,” she said. “It’s different in every town.”
In Camden, 25 businesses are signed on to host the iconic children’s book character in a candy-cane striped shirt and black specs.
It works like this:
Those who want to participate can pick up a passport at one of the businesses and look for Waldo while they shop. He could be anywhere: hiding in the couch cushions at Boykin Furniture, behind a napkin holder at Carolina Café or popping up behind a pastry at Mulberry Market.
“The businesses are encouraged to change it up so that he’s not in the same place every time, and they’re encouraged to have fun with it,” Funderburk said.
Shoppers then get their passport stamped by the shopkeeper. Those who collect 10 stamps and are among the first 100 to return them get small prizes, such as a sticker and a coupon for a Where’s Waldo? book. Those who collect 20 or more are entered to win bigger prizes donated by the participating shops.
A big party is planned for July 31 at Books on Broad to announce the winners.
No purchase is required to participate, but the idea is to get shoppers into local stores, said Funderburk, a Democratic state representative.
“Maybe people will have a chance to visit a store they haven’t been to before or haven’t been to in a while,” she said. “When you shop locally, more dollars are returned to the local economy than if you shop online (or at a national chain store).
“We’re your neighbors. We have our families here. We like to see our community thrive,” she said. “We obviously hope that folks will come by and visit.”
For details, visit booksonbroad.com or call (803) 713-7323.