It all began with an e-mail a little over a month ago. While watching Fox 17 morning news, the owners of P.E.T. Pet Emporium & Textiles watched the Smart Shopper segment before heading into work. In this segment, Leigh Ann Towne, a member of the Fox 17 morning crew, visits local stores within West Michigan to help promote the business and its products.
Linda Olenczuk and Mary Ruple, owners of P.E.T., thought, “Why not us? Why not Vicksburg?” So, they took a risk and sent an email inviting Fox 17 to visit their store, while they promote the unique businesses and restaurants in the community. A couple of weeks later, that risk paid off. The visit was confirmed. Leigh Ann Towne would produce her Smart Shopper segment on July 23 at P.E.T. in Vicksburg.
During the segment, P.E.T. was featured live three times during the morning news, once at 6:45 a.m. 7:10 a.m., and 8:10 a.m. Another story was taped for the 6 p.m. news. In addition to the live shots and news story, Fox 17 promoted the store and the Smart Shopper deals on its Web site. Towne posted pictures on her Facebook page and Tweeted about the store and her experience.
This is not the only responsibility Towne has with Fox 17 news. In addition to visiting and promoting locally owned businesses three times a week, Towne is sole writer and producer of the Smart Shopper segment. On weekends, she co-anchors the morning news from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. with Tim Doty.
With 15 years of television broadcasting experience, Towne was nothing if not polished, helpful, friendly, and professional while working with the owners on the Smart Shopper segment. P.E.T. owners say they are forever grateful for the chance to promote their store and their products on Fox 17 news. The news team has twice visited the Historical Society to film the Ice Harvest and other attractions within the Historic Village. Ruple and Olenczuk hope the village of Vicksburg will continue to grow its positive relationship with the station.