Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Downtown shopping evenings a hit with merchants

December 22, 2004

Lana Howe couldn't be happier about the number of customers who visited Vintage Soap and Bath recently -- thanks to a promotion by the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce.

Howe, who co-owns the shop at 626 E. Fourth with Kathy Owens, said her business reaped benefits from the late-night shopping event, held the past two Thursday nights.

"It was an excellent idea," Howe said. "We had so many people who hadn't even been downtown and didn't even know we were here."

Both nights, Vintage Soap and Bath joined other downtown Tonganoxie merchants and businesses that stayed open until 8 p.m., offering evening shopping and holiday treats. Vintage even provided children's crafts at the former Ratliff Drug Store.

"We had little Christmas soaps that the kids were decorating," Howe said.

And although this holiday shopping period isn't quite over, Howe already is thinking about next year. She's hopeful the chamber will sponsor the event again.

According to Charlene Kimberlin, administrative assistant for the chamber, the chances are good that Howe's wish will come true.

"For the first year, especially, I'm very pleased with it," Kimberlin said. "We might do some things different, but we're planning on having it again next year."

Francie Campbell was among Tonganoxie residents who ventured downtown -- in hopes of getting to see Santa Claus, who was at the former Ratliff Drug Store, Fourth and Bury. Her 4-year-old daughter, Emma, is enthralled with St. Nicholas.

"We had a great time," Francie Campbell said. "That was really nice. She was so tickled. She's funny about Santa anyway. She loves him. She tells everybody she loves him. She told him she loves him."

In addition to Santa, visitors to Ratliff's could partake in treats offered by First State Bank and Trust as they listened to carolers.

"It was great," Campbell said. "It was so cute, the kids singing. It kind of brings back a little nostalgia of when we were little. It was awesome."

Both Don Pelzl, owner of Pelzl's Do It Best Hardware, and Susan Quisenberry, owner of Village Floral, said they were pleased with the turnout of shoppers during the promotion.

"We had a pretty steady group of customers up until 8 o'clock," Pelzl said.

And Quisenberry said she often hears from people who work out of town that her gift and floral shop isn't open when they're in Tonganoxie -- so staying open for two nights provided an opportunity for those customers.

"We enjoyed it," she said. "We really did. I think it went really well. We had a lot of people in and out.

"It was nice, and the weather was nice. I thought it was a neat idea."

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