Hosting successful ribbon cuttings is a beneficial public relations display that shows how the chamber brings attention to businesses in our community. It makes people feel good and a part of something bigger than they are. It’s a public induction ceremony that provides a lot of positive press for everyone if you do a good job on it.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What a ribbon cutting ceremony is
- How to select the best day for a ribbon cutting based on the experience of other chamber pros
- Ways to get more people to attend ribbon cuttings
- Creative ideas for ribbon cuttings
What’s a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony?
Ribbon cuttings are traditionally performed for business openings but you can use a big pair of scissors to cut a ribbon for any big milestone including:
- opening a new brand, location, or franchise
- a business anniversary
- a millionth customer designation (or some other number)
- moving into a new building
- reopening a business under new management
- reopening after a devastating event (like a fire)
- or any reason the business feels they need to present themselves to the community.
It’s a time for celebration but you don’t want your business hosting one every week as it will quickly lose its effect.
Is the ribbon cutting my business’ event or a Chamber event?
This is your event. The Chamber will gladly assist you with the following:
- Notify the Chamber’s Board of Directors and members of your ribbon cutting, encouraging their attendance
- Invite local officials on your behalf (upon request only)
- List your ribbon cutting on the event page of Chamber’s website
- Have a member of the Chamber’s Team provide congratulatory remarks
- Provide a list of Chamber member caterers (upon request only)
- Provide contact list of local media outlets (upon request only)
- Bring the “BIG scissors” and ribbon
- Take pictures at the event and publish a photo in our newsletter and social media pages.
While the Chamber will extend the above-mentioned invitations and list your ribbon cutting on our website, we strongly encourage you to conduct your own PR campaign to increase the attendance and awareness of your business’s opening. You should also consider inviting your business partners, financiers, contractors, employees, customers, friends, and family to be with you to celebrate this momentous occasion in your business’s history. Please understand that you should not rely solely on the Chamber to attract your audience.
What do we do?
Because your ribbon cutting is your event, there are no set rules. To make your event successful, carefully consider the following:
- Schedule your event at least two weeks in advance. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are usually the best days during the week for business people, not earlier than 9:00am and avoiding later evening functions. Also, we ask you to please take a moment to cross-check your preferred date and time of celebration with the Greendale Community Calendar to prevent scheduling conflicts.
- Determine who will cut the ribbon. The owners or top executives most frequently do the honors, but each business is different and can pick whomever they like.
- Who will be in the photo(s). Some businesses will take multiple photos with various groups of people before actually cutting the ribbon. Photos might include employees, family, Chamber members, business partners, and Ambassadors for example.
- Your remarks or speech. This is usually done when everyone is gathered before cutting the ribbon. Prepare a quick speech and be sure to have plenty of brochures available.
How do you get more ribbon-cutting attendees?
Here’s what a few chamber pros had to say on the matter.
Advertise Like the Event Depends on It
Email invitations to members and post on Facebook and Twitter once a week (for about 3 weeks) leading up to the ribbon cutting. We have a core group of 5-10 chamber members, including some board folks, who enjoy attending these events. (Make sure to get photos of them at the event and post on FB.) Do not expect to fill the room with chamber members.
Create a Committee
The Chamber’s membership committee can assist you with agenda and promotion but it is advisable that you appoint two or three people to execute the plan. Free yourself up to be a good host and spend time with your guests instead of serving food and drinks.
Other details to enhance your event
Refreshments, drinks, door prizes, and decorations are optional and up to you. Many businesses add these extra touches when conducting a public grand opening in conjunction with the ribbon cutting.
A special invitation. The Chamber can provide you with a member mailing list if you would like to mail an optional special invitation to the entire membership. This is especially encouraged if you are conducting a grand opening with prizes, business specials, and refreshments.
Organize a separate PR campaign. If you would like to invite the general public, you should explore other advertising avenues and/or consider sending a press release to the local media. You can do this yourself or hire a marketing company to help you with this. The Chamber can provide you with a list of the local media contacts and, as a member, you get a discounted rate to advertise in Life in the Village magazine.
Examples of excellent Ribbon Cuttings we’ve attended in the past
In the past we have had successful ribbon cuttings at local businesses that had an agenda similar to this:
- 2 minute welcome speech from the Chamber/president or board member that is welcoming to the new business.
- 2 minute speech from a Village of Greendale official welcoming the business to the area. Village official introduces the new business and owners to the audience
- Business owner speaks on why they came to Greendale, what brought them to this location, and what their business can bring to the community as a service or employment and what the community will benefit from this business.
- Business owner then proceeds with the ribbon cutting.
Chamber will bring the scissors and ribbon. In the past having employee with your brand front and present for the pictures is always nice. T-shirt or other means to get the name of the business in the pictures is great for marketing. Having an agenda for yourself and the Chamber and the Village official is helpful so all parties know when they are speaking and when to introduce the business.
Remember this is your ribbon cutting and we are here to support you and your business!