‘Tis the season to shop

Marshall downtown businesses kicked off the three-day Sparkle holiday hop

Photos by Karin Elton Missy Klaith, Lisa Mauch, Pam Hess and Amy Beernaert walk down Main Street Friday afternoon on their way to Marshall Decorating. Their mission — to complete a secret message game, part of the Sparkle downtown holiday hop event which ends today.

MARSHALL — Downtown businesses were decked out in their own versions of a winter wonderland, and late Thursday afternoon, groups of shoppers could be seen walking from store to store.

Some were taking their time, while a few, like Cloie Stevens and Kaitlyn Runia, were dashing down the sidewalk — to avoid the cold, Stevens said.

As she browsed at Coco Avenue, Megan Hennen said she liked visiting different downtown Marshall businesses, and checking out the deals during the new Sparkle holiday hop event.

“They have great Christmas ideas for my family,” Hennen said.

Downtown businesses kicked off the Sparkle holiday hop on Thursday afternoon. Participating businesses are offering sales, prize drawings and treats through today.

Shoppers can purchase a $15 ticket book that gives access to special savings, ticket drawings and a grand prize game.

Having more time to take part in the holiday hop let shoppers do things at their own pace. While there wasn’t a big rush of customers right at the start of the Sparkle event, some local business owners said having a three-day event was a positive thing.

“I feel the shoppers that are out are spending quality time” at local businesses, said The Escape Spa owner Ashley Potter. On Friday, Potter said customers were taking time to look around, get holiday gift ideas and try the refreshments being offered at The Escape.

“I think it definitely draws people downtown,” Terry Haas, of Bot Appliance and Electronics and Poppin’ Tags Boutique, said of the holiday hop. Haas said people had been coming into the store on Thursday, even before the official Sparkle start. “We had good traffic this morning,” he said, and he hoped it would pick up again as people got off work in the evening.

“I like that it’s over a weekend,” said Courtney Voorhees, owner of the Noble Woman Boutique. She said having the Sparkle event on the weekend gave people more time to browse downtown – shoppers could come in on Saturday, for example. The Sparkle event was also fun. “Everyone’s trying to feature different gift ideas, and for us, clothing.”

Since the Sparkle holiday hop is a new event, it remains to be seen if it will give local businesses a boost, Potter said. The holiday shopping season is important for businesses in general.

“Over the holidays, more people are out shopping across the nation,” she said.

However, Potter said encouraging people to visit local businesses gives them a chance to see what sorts of products are available, and what kinds of promotions are going on. It could help give them ideas for return trips.

“We want to encourage people to shop local,” Potter said.


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