Since its inception seven years ago, Avalon Salon in Deer Park, Illinois, established a tradition of celebrating its business birthday each year by hosting clients for complimentary services, raffles, food, drinks and music. The event not only allows the salon to thank its loyal clients, it lures in new potential guests. While brainstorming ideas for this year’s event, the salon team determined that creating a more casual event would be more appealing.

Playing with the idea of the salon’s 7th anniversary led to notion of a 7th inning stretch, which inspired this year’s baseball theme. “One of our guest relations team leaders changed up our logo and designed a baseball team jersey with a big bold ‘7’ on the back,” says Bonnie Conte, who co-owns the salon with spouse August Conte and Shyla and Richard Kurnick.

“We placed batting cages in our parking lot where our guests could ‘Go to Bat’ for a charity. For a nominal $5 charge, clients made donations to one of the top three charities we sponsor throughout the year.  We gave them a spongy baseball with our logo, website and telephone number after to thank them for their support,” says Conte.

The salon also invited Lifesource, Chicagoland’s Blood Center, to host a blood drive during the event. One of the center’s mobile units parked in the salon’s parking lot collected 45 pints of blood throughout the day.

Inside the salon, guests were given a playbook, which guided them through complimentary consultations on make-up, hair and skin care. As guests crossed each base, a team member autographed their playbook. At home plate, guests could detach an entry form from the playbook and enter a raffle for a day in the spa.

Outside, attendees were treated to complimentary chair massages and encouraged to linger and listen to a great local band and enjoy ballpark treats, such as Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Chicago-style hotdogs, cola and cold beer.

“Our anniversary party has become an event that receives a good deal of community support. Each year our mall and our local Chamber of Commerce help promote the event on their websites, and several of the Chamber’s members bring their friends to celebrate with us,” says Conte. “Our ‘7th Inning Stretch’ was a grand slam in that it generated pride to our staff and existing clients, made a positive impact with our mission to give back, and promoted us as a leading salon and day spa in our community.”