The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Third Fridays Celebrates Local Businesses in the Village of Hamilton This Fall

Colgate University

The village of Hamilton, N.Y., is filled with small businesses that provide both Colgate University and the local community with various services. Each of these businesses has a story behind it — it may have been an important part of Hamilton for generations, or perhaps is run by a local family. These businesses are vital to creating a lively environment that connects community members. Because many locals and Colgate students underutilize the businesses Hamilton has to offer, Hamilton’s Chamber of Commerce created Third Fridays to support these businesses.

Third Fridays are held on the third Friday of each fall month. They began in September and will run through December. The events consist of local businesses staying open past their normal hours as well as special promotions and unique pop-ups, such as face painting and food trucks. The town transforms: Flour and Salt becomes an empanada stand, businesses without a physical location populate the streets with stands and dozens walk around the town to take part in the event. Unique deals, such as raffles and gift card giveaways, occur throughout the town, driving foot traffic and promoting the small businesses that create community and give the small town its charm.

Colgate alumna Britty O’Connor ’12 — the owner of Flour and Salt and Martha’s on Madison — is also the head of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the mind behind Third Fridays. 

“The idea is that all the businesses come together, stay open later and have promotions to attract more customers downtown,” O’Connor said.

She explained how there is a bit of a “chicken or the egg” situation where students do not go downtown because businesses are not open late enough, but businesses do not stay open because not enough students come. Third Fridays combats this issue, attracting students and locals alike. This is only possible through all the businesses coming together as a collective and agreeing to stay open to encourage groups of locals and students to experience the special event.

Senior Jadan Hand spoke about her experience with Third Fridays. Last Third Friday, she worked at a face painting booth with another student. She even had the opportunity to apply face paint to a professor and their child, demonstrating the important connection between different communities that Third Fridays promotes.

“It’s funny because you’re able to see a new side of the town. As students, we’re in a bubble, even more so than most colleges because we’re up the hill. Interacting with the townspeople or Colgate faculty and staff in a new way is so important,” Hand said. 

Colgate University connects with the town of Hamilton and the local community in a variety of ways. Programs like ’Gate Cash encourage students to shop at local businesses and foster connections between the campus and town. Still, many Colgate students do not take advantage of this or similar programs. Third Fridays are an opportunity to both benefit from the many businesses the town has to offer while simultaneously supporting these businesses. 

Every third Friday until the end of 2023, businesses will stay open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and various pop-ups will bring the small town to life, so come connect with the local community and catch the last two Third Fridays of the year on Nov. 17 and Dec. 15!

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