The third annual autumn Ladies Shopping Night in downtown Chatham got off to a festive start as women (and some men) swarmed to snatch up some deals. Mayor-elect Bruce Harris and shop owners welcomed the crowd at Bliss for the customary ribbon cutting.
Holiday lights brightened the streets as teens, moms and grandmothers checked out the stores that stayed opened until 9 p.m. to help shoppers get started for the holidays.
“It’s a chance to get together with the girls and go out for sushi,” said Kelley Carney, a Chatham Borough mom, who added that although she wasn’t quite ready for holiday shopping, the event helped her “get in the mood.”
Carney enjoyed shopping with a group of her friends ultimately headed to Mitsuba for a planned evening out. Desi Folenta, owner of Spring Street Dezigns, says the event is catching on and he notices people are starting to plan on it.
Krista Abdy, co-owner of Haute Bungalow, the interior design company who partners with Folenta and designs the store including accessories and lighting, said, “It’s a nice excuse for everyone to get out and enjoy everything a small town like Chatham has to offer.”
One reason the owners of Jabberwocky, focusing on educational toys, moved the business to Chatham was because of the quaint Main Street, which would seem to encourage downtown traffic.
“Having this event around the holidays works well for us,” said Nancy Nahvi, co-owner. Things like this and the upcoming Shop Small (with lots of discounts and shopping incentives) on November 26, starting at 7 a.m., are helping Chatham businesses, she added.
“There’s not a lot of foot traffic downtown anymore and people are being conservative, especially with online shopping,” she explained.
Harris said new signage directing people to parking for shopping and main community centers are one downtown improvement already in the works.
For some stores, Ladies Shopping Night is one of the biggest nights of the year. “It’s always a good turnout,” said Doris Crater, owner of d.j. crater, which attracted close to 100 attendees.
Loyal customer Colleen Barry didn’t know about Ladies Shopping Night until she received a recent email from Crater. “This is the first time I’ve done it,” she said. “It’s a great way to start my holiday shopping and go out with my husband [to Gregorio’s.]”
In this economy, discounts and incentives help. D.J. Crater offered 20 percent off accessories and a free $24 pair of earrings with purchase. New-store-in-town Quartet had 15 percent off storewide and enjoyed lines all night.
“It’s been awesome,” said Vicki Anello, a co-owner. “It seems like people are really getting into the holiday spirit.