Downtown event deemed success by store owners

Published 5:50 am Wednesday, December 11, 2002

By By BILL CRIST – Publisher
Throw a party, and they'll come. At least that's what about 20 merchants located in Downtown Brewton were hoping last Thursday night.
Despite the falling mercury in the thermometer, a large crowd was on hand to kick off the holiday season in Brewton. Many people braved the cold to flip the switch and turn on the Christmas lights lining downtown businesses and to greet Santa Claus when he arrived. Even more gathered inside the stores and at The Ritz.
In addition to a visit from Santa, several of the retail businesses stayed open late, there was live music and the Ritz featured musical performances, an art show and dinner catered by Tommy Gerlach of Atmore.
Sandy English said the event proves that good things can happen when people work together.
The Downtown Open House, which started as a project to attract shoppers to Downtown Brewton and to encourage them to shop locally this holiday season, turned into a community-wide celebration.
McMillan said many of the purchases were for items priced under $25, such as ornaments.
McMillan said they kept their store open until nearly 9 p.m., two hours later than the scheduled closing. Weaver said that his business was strong all day long.
English said she hopes more people will get in the spirit of the season and attend community Christmas events.
Thursday's event was not the last of this holiday season. On Saturday, the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Christmas Parade. And many of the same businesses that put on Thursday's open house will stay open late every Thursday evening through Christmas.