By Mary O’KEEFE
From the looks on the faces of the kids, and adults, who were playing in the snow and shoppers with packages walking down Honolulu Avenue, White Friday was a success.
Black Friday is the name given to the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving that is supposed to bring business into the “black.” Montrose Shopping Park Association decided to change the day up a little by making it a White Friday, with some businesses whiting out the sales tax or giving equivalent discounts, and filling the street with snow.
“I think it has been a success,” said Dale Dawson, executive director of MSPA and owner of Mountain Rose Gifts. “There seems to be a lot of [shoppers] on the street and no one was pepper sprayed.”
Dawson referred to the reports of a woman who allegedly pepper sprayed shoppers during a Black Friday sale at the Porter Ranch Wal-Mart. Stories of people pushing and shoving to get the best deal were a long way from the shopping day in Montrose.
“I think this was a wonderful, old fashioned, old town Christmas,” said Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon A Time bookstore, the oldest children’s book store in the nation.
Palacios said her business increased tremendously from years past.
“This was the best three days of [sales] since 2005, “ she said.
Palacios said her customers seemed to appreciate the 10% discount she was offering and the white out of taxes from other stores in the shopping park. Some of those customers were new to the shops.
The shopping park had filmed a commercial and taken out ads in local papers promoting the event.
“I think the snow brought some people in,” Palacios added.
She said that Montrose offers a different shopping experience.
“You can find parking and you won’t get mauled at the mall,” she joked.
Carolers and Santa strolled the sidewalk, and jazz muscians played favorite holiday songs. At the end of White Friday, snow fell (actually snow bubbles blew) with the lighting of the tree and the town.
Shopping doesn’t have to begin and end with Thanksgiving weekend. The stores are still filled with unique items from clothing to eye glasses, and, of course, books.
On Sundays, the MSPA Harvest Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables and a variety of vendors that sell everything from antiques to clothing and jewelry.
“We have a [good] variety of vendors and not at mall prices,” said Jeff Decker, manager for the Thieves Market portion of the Harvest Market.
For the past few months there have been concerns that this vendor area of the market would be changed or even eliminated by the MSPA board. There had been some information concerning a change in direction for the market however in the last MSPA meeting it was agreed that no changes would be discussed until January when two new members to the board will be seated.
At present, Decker said, no new changes will be made and everyone is invited to take adavantage of the Harvest Markets’ great deals and eclectic items offered by the vendors.
And many of the brick and mortar stores are open as well on Sunday during the market.
A recent study done by American Express found that housing values were found to be 50% higher in areas that have local independent shops. And those areas also benefit because small independently owned businesses hire locally as well.
Here are some of the regular Harvest Market-Thieves Market Vendors:
Jeanette Argon–Hand cut and crafted wooden puzzles
Yuri Brodarsk–Fine import blown glass
Eli Burnham Sunset Pig–Jewelry
Robert and Mona Cuellar–Knitted wear
Dieke Brandt–Water color artist
Rick Dombrowski–Collectables, books and vintage toys
Face Makers–Children face painting and design
Don Francis– Gently used books
Jamie Galbraith–Hand crafted jewelry
Kathleen Harvey–Collectibles and vintage jewelry
Abigal Izzo Antique–Linens and collectables
Carol Lightwood– Pasadena Soups
Mary Lopez- Tupperware
Pam Mason “A day at the ball”– Princess attire and birthday parties
Kevin and Evelyn McCall– Custom greeting cards
Kneaded Experience– Massage Therapy
Terri Ashmore– Goldleaf Antiques
Vince Takas– Water color artist
Shelby Pope– High-end knitted wear
Terri Wagener– Tender Loving Work
Kids play area and
Ponies and petting zoo run by Ginny
For the names of the stores, restaurants and businesses in the Montrose Shopping Park visit www.shopmontrose.com and in Montrose visit www.montrosechamber.org