Tony Walker & Co. (TW&Co.) is a Buffalo-based, high-end fashion retail center located in Williamsville, New York. A high percentage of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) patrons live in this Buffalo suburb and patronize the TW&Co. Center, which inspired both organizations to form an innovative collaborative partnership in the fall of 2013 to benefit both organizations.
The relationship began small. Tony Walker & Co. promoted its brand at a BPO concert, formally announcing its new partnership with the Orchestra. Before the concert and during intermission, the company displayed pieces that carried in the store, increasing brand awareness to the thousands of BPO audience in attendance. TW&Co. also featured the Orchestra in its annual catalog, which was disseminated to thousands of Buffalo area households.
In early May of 2014, Tony Walker & Co. hosted a BPO “Shop for Success Day.” During this full-day promotional event, any shopper who mentioned the BPO at TW & Co. received a 10 percent discount on his or her purchase. The company then donated 10 percent of the purchase proceeds to the BPO. Each patron who mentioned the BPO received a favor bag filled with items from both organizations.
In addition, Tony Walker & Co. generously hosted a “Shop for Success Day” reception to celebrate its growing relationship with the Philharmonic. Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres, champagne and a fashion show featuring BPO musicians and staff. Musicians strolled the catwalk donning pieces from designers such as Mara Hoffman, Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, and others. (Photo credit: BPO musicians walked the runway in TW&Co.'s first annual 'Shop for Success Day', courtesty of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.)
The Mara Hoffman line in particular piqued interest among patrons. Buffalo native Mara is a successful New York City-based fashion designer whose father, Monte Hoffman, has played cello in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for 50 years. It seemed only fitting that the BPO musicians and staff and TW&Co. celebrated this connection by featuring Mara’s bright-colored, extraordinary tribal-influenced pieces. (Photo credit: BPO musicians don Mara Hoffman originals, courtesy of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.)
“Tony Walker and Co. loves working with the BPO,” commented Brittany Troy, event coordinator at TW&Co. “The ‘Shop for Success Day’ was a great way to advance our relationship. We could not be happier with the partnership we are building. The employees at Tony Walker & Co. are very excited to help the Orchestra welcome the 2014-2015 season”
This relationship demonstrated the potential mutual benefits of innovative collaboration with local businesses. Not only did the BPO reach out to an expanded audience in the Williamsville area and raise funds for the organization, but TW&Co. aligned itself with a major cultural asset of Western New York increasing its brand awareness to the BPO’s religious followers. The “Shop for Success Day” is just one reason among many why the #BPOlovesTonyWalker&Co.
Lauren Piekarski is a graduate of Canisius College and the M.A. Arts Management program at the University at Buffalo. She currently serves as the special events coordinator for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.