Melissa Farrell was born and raised in Huntington. She spent over 20 years working locally at a family-owned restaurant before pursuing a career as an international tour director, leading groups of many sizes on trips all over the world. A passionate traveler, Melissa said she had found her purpose – telling stories that helped people connect to the hidden gems around them. When the pandemic hit, however, Melissa was out of a job, all travel came to a screeching halt and she was left, once again, contemplating her future.
She missed the crowds, the stories and the laughter, and was concerned about neighborhood businesses being able to endure the Covid-19 restrictions. Melissa soon realized that her hometown of Huntington, and the surrounding areas, had their own untold stories, and that’s when Going Local Tours and Experiences was born.
Going Local connects people to local businesses through “tastes and tales.” The company provides group tours and offers private picnics or experiences that include foods from local eateries. It's all about supporting local business, Melissa said.
This weekend, Melissa is taking Going Local to Northport Village for a “walk and talk” with women business owners of Northport. She’s collaborating with two other female business owners to conduct the tour, Diane Palma from Digho Arts and Amber Calderon from Tings Talk.
Digho Arts is a graphic design studio that specializes in business branding and image marketing. Diane owns the business with her best friend, Maria Misko, and together they use their fine and digital art training to work collaboratively with clients to create unique visual stories. Digho works as the brander and graphic designer for the tour, and shares in the responsibilities of gathering amazing women “to put together a killer tour full of diversity and inspiration,” Diane told the Journal.
Tings Talk was founded by Amber Calderon, who is also CEO. Created in 2021, the platform supports and connects female entrepreneurs, creatives and small businesses within the community, showcasing women of diverse backgrounds through a variety of events. In her experience this past year, Amber has collaborated with over 50 female creatives and curated events ranging from networking mixers, drag shows, vendor markets, panel talks, and wellness classes.
These female entrepreneurs and uplifters are coming to Northport this Sunday, May 15, to showcase the many impressive women of Main Street and their businesses. “We have treats, stories and a bunch of surprises to share,” Melissa said.
The tour starts at noon with french toast bites at Salted on the Harbor. Then the group will make its way down Main Street to visit Einstein’s Attic, Raizes, Nest on Main, Indigo Room, Penny & Cooper, and the Northport Historical Society, where participants will learn about the women entrepreneurs in Northport’s history. The last stop of the tour is The Firefly Artists Gallery, where there will be live music, wine and appetizers, and a special raffle. In addition to hearing from local business owners, there are additional demonstrations by female artists and jewelry makers.
If you’re looking for a fun, collaborative and empowering event that lifts up the amazing women who make up a large part of our Village business sector, this is the tour for you (and your friends, too). Tour tickets cost $49.99 each and can be purchased here.