Dozens of area children and their families were looking for more than furniture deals when they visited the local Raymour & Flanigan this weekend.
On Saturday, the store hosted a community event in the form of its first ever Easter egg hunt. Approximately 75 children flooded the showroom in search of more than 1,000 brightly colored Easter eggs, which were creatively hidden on furniture pieces throughout the entire floor.
According to Tiffany Walrod, sales manager, the Easter egg hunt was just one of several community outreach events Raymour & Flanigan has planned for the area.
A young Easter egg hunt participant bags one of his finds as he continues in search of more eggs.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"We're looking for an opportunity to get back into the community through different community events, because there's a lot of people in the area that don't even know we're here," Walrod said. "So we want to make everyone aware that we're here, and bring them in for fun events like this."
Walrod said the store is planning to host a family-friendly fundraising event of some sort on a 3-4-month basis.
"And we want to make it about the kids and the community, and not make it about sales," she said.
In order to get the word about the Easter egg hunt, Walrod said Raymour & Flanigan reached out to a couple of local school districts - Southwestern and Frewsburg. She said the store made individual donations to the districts' art departments and, in turn, were authorized to hand out Easter Bunny coloring sheets to all children aged 12 and under. The coloring sheets included information regarding the event, and Walrod said she was pleased with the amount of families who responded to the invite.
"We had a pretty good turnout for our first time," she said. "There was a little bit of a slow start but, by the time we got all done, I think there was enough kids."
Based on the success of Saturday's event, Walrod said she is hopeful that the Easter egg hunt will become an annual event.
Altogether, there were 1,296 candy-filled eggs scattered throughout the store - 10 of which contained a voucher for a chocolate Easter bunny, and one of which contained a $50 store gift card. Egg-seekers were initially asked to stop their searching after finding 10 eggs per child but, as there were still several eggs left unclaimed, they were invited to continue their search until all were located.
"We'll count them out," Walrod said. "If they're not all there, we'll be finding candy (throughout the store) for a long time to come."
Also in attendance was the Easter Bunny, who made himself available for a photos with any children wanting to take a picture with him. Representatives from the Chautauqua County Humane Society were also on hand to take donations for its Pennies4Paws campaign.
Additionally, the coloring sheets that were returned were collected for judging in an age 2-12 coloring contest. The judging took place at the close of business Saturday, and the winner was notified independently of the event itself.