It may be a couple of weeks before the Christmas shopping season truly sets in, but local retail districts and small businesses are already kicking the holidays into high gear hoping to attract shoppers with a slew of shopping events and promotions. On the first weekend of November many local stores held open houses to introduce their customers and the community to new products and services. Beaver Bark in Richland is no exception. In fact, their store is known for decking its halls with holiday displays, gifts and more than a handful of festive and elaborately decorated Christmas trees. The business held an open house Nov. 5 that featured appearances by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, a 15-foot train, wine and hor d'oeuvres.
[blockquote quote="The entire store just lights up and glitters, we have cookies and refreshments, giveaways, and serve our secret apple cider recipe." source="Lemon Grass Gifts, Owner" align="right" max_width="300px"]
“Our loyal customers get a first pick at everything new we’ve brought in,” said Renae Bobbett, Beaver Bark owner. “Our displays are all about telling stories. We have seven stories throughout the store. One is the Frozen story.” Beaver Bark, on Aaron Drive in Richland, also hosts different holiday-themed classes throughout the season, like wreath making and mistletoe kissing ball workshops. They also host two of Santa’s reindeers, Dancer and Prancer, which arrive the day after Thanksgiving, and stay through Christmas. “It’s kind of our gift to the community,” said Bobbett. Lemon Grass Gifts in Kennewick also holds an open house on the first weekend of November. “It’s kind of our way to ring in the season,” said Linda Pasco, owner of the gift shop in Kennewick’s Marineland Village on Clearwater Avenue. “The entire store just lights up and glitters, we have cookies and refreshments, giveaways, and serve our secret apple cider recipe. This event takes several weeks to prepare.”
Lemon Grass offers unique gifts throughout the year, but the store purchases special Christmas-related items and stocking stuffers for the holiday season. Similarly, stores like Washington Hardware and Furniture, which tend to focus on appliances, furniture, and home improvement items, also order special inventor just for Christmas. “We bring in specialty items and unique items — we want our customers shopping experience to be enjoyable and plentiful,” said John Gravenslund, owner. “Our store has a lot of practicality. We try and purchase a couple of pocket knifes, accent pieces, Amish rockers and colorful mixing bowls. We expand on gift giving things so we look fresh and active.”
Local shopping districts like Downtown Pasco, Historic Downtown Kennewick, and the Uptown Shopping Center host annual holiday shopping events and incentives for local holiday shoppers. Michael Goins, Executive Director of Downtown Pasco Development Authority said they already have a few special events scheduled and others are still in the planning stages. The DPDA will have Classic Christmas in downtown Pasco Dec. 11. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and feature live music, food trucks, entertainment, a tree lighting ceremony and pictures with Santa. Goins said he also hopes to feature arts and crafts by local artists and bring in some local acoustic singers to sing some non-traditional contemporary holiday music. “We’re also encouraging businesses to decorate the front of their buildings and storefront displays,” he said. “We want to be able to drive people to downtown Pasco after work.”
Historic Downtown Kennewick has similar activities planned. It is planning various holiday events throughout the holiday shopping season, like participating in Small Business Saturday on the last Saturday of November, the Merry Christmas Village on Dec. 5 and the opening of historic downtown Kennewick’s ice rink, which lasts through the month of December. “We’ll have Santa Clause, hay rides, the Boys & Girls Club will be playing music, we want to promote the holiday shopping season locally,” said Russell Del Gesso, owner of Ed and Moes Pawn Shop & Guitar Bar. Del Gesso is also the president of the Partnership. “Many of our local businesses will create new promotions, specials and discounts for that weekend.” Del Gesso said the merchants want to attract as many people to Historic Downtown Kennewick as possible to shop, dine and play.
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The Uptown Shopping Center will participate in Richland’s Winterfest celebration Thursday, Dec. 3. Businesses will stay open from 5 to 8 p.m. and will offer treats, specials, drawings, gift certificates and more.
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