Shopping locally for holiday gifts will be front and center tonight, Friday, December 16, in downtown Harrisonburg with a new retail event, Shop Til You Drop. With 17 participating downtown businesses staying open until 10:00 pm, customers will have the chance to shop late and enjoy festive treats, special sales, and plenty of holiday cheer.
The event, organized by Anna Melton Pelletier of the urban-mod shop Mint, will feature merchants throughout downtown. Modeled after the success of the First Fridays art walks during the summer, participating locations will offer a chance to mingle in the downtown community and enjoy holiday treats while shopping. “First Fridays in the spring and summer are so much fun,” says Anna. “Why not have a Holiday Friday? I think Shop Til You Drop is another way to show Harrisonburg residents how many wonderful shops there are downtown.”
Anna, who opened Mint in the spring of 2011, grew up in Old Town and after moving back to Harrisonburg several years ago, knew she wanted to own a shop downtown. “There is a growing downtown business community and everyone tries to support each other,” says Anna. “It’s a very positive atmosphere!”
In this spirit of collaboration, Anna first got the idea for Shop Til You Drop when Valerie Weaver of Ten Thousand Villages struck up a conversation with her about holiday events in other Virginia communities. If enough businesses were able to get involved in a shopping event in Harrisonburg and offer holiday specials, Anna thought, it would draw more shoppers downtown. As she points out, “Who doesn’t love cookies and a sale?”
And get other businesses involved, she did. Anna coordinated with 17 downtown merchants to keep their doors open a bit later in the name of holiday cheer and more convenience for shoppers during a hectic season, where there are often too many things to shop for and not enough time in which to shop for them. After talking with the other businesses about participating, Anna also asked local artist Daniel Suter to design the promotional poster for the event.
The businesses participating in tonight’s event are:
· Dragonflies Toys
· Wonder and Wonder Records
· The Yellow Button
· You Made It!
· Ten Thousand Villages
· The Lady Jane
· Laughing Dog T-Shirts and Gifts
· A Touch of the Earth
· Midtowne Market
· Friendly City Food Co-op
· James McHone Jewelry
· All Things Virginia
· Oasis Fine Art and Craft
· Downtown Wine & Gourmet
Shop Til You Drop is not only an invitation for shoppers to come downtown and buy their holiday gifts in a festive environment, but it is also a celebration of the diversity of unique, local businesses. “There are so many wonderful businesses downtown,” observes Anna. “In order for us all to grow, we need the support of the community. Having events like Shop Til You Drop helps to create more awareness of all that downtown offers!”
For more information, please visit the Facebook event page or call Anna at (540) 434-6468.
Nicole Martorana is the Promotions Manager for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.