Free wine and cheese will start a five-course meal for shoppers at downtown retailers tonight, as local merchants combine to offer Ladies Night Out with a different course and promotion at five participating stores.
Ladies Night Out is one of several efforts by downtown businesses to try to reinvigorate residents to shop local, after businesses took a hit during the ice storm and days afterward.
“The idea of it was we’ve all been kind of cooped up — the customers and the owners,” said Claire Amano, owner of Serendipity on the Square. “This gives everyone a chance to get out and do some last-minute shopping and get dinner, too. It’s an efficient way to eat and shop all at once.”
She and owners of four other shops — County Seat Antiques, Courthouse Collection, Garden Gate and La Di Da — formulated the plan. The stores are all different but attract a similar type of consumer, Amano said.
The evening will start at 5 p.m. at Serendipity on the Square and run until 8 p.m., but shoppers can start at any store and hop between the businesses as they please, said Traci Davis, owner of Garden Gate. Stores had already expanded their hours to stay open until 7 p.m.
Her shop is scheduled to be the last stop and will serve up dessert, and she has already prepared sugar cookies and peanut blossoms. With sweets and special promotions, she hopes to bring in some increased business and remind shoppers they can stay local.
“After the snowstorm, we just wanted another way to give shoppers an opportunity to come down to the Square and shop, and we felt like this was inviting,” she said.
The event will coincide with a second promotion several downtown retailers are participating in — the 12 Days of Christmas. Every day, retailers are offering a special promotion for just that day, like sales on just candles or signs.
“It’s a fun way to highlight something in your store and give people a bit of a break,” Amano said.
With e-mails and social media posts, shoppers are starting to catch on to the sales and are excited to shop, Davis said.
“Ours is already going really great. People are coming in and asking us, ‘OK, what’s it today?’” she said. “It’s definitely helping [sales]. I think we’re a ways off from recouping, but it’s helping people think of our downtown area and to come shop Denton.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.