Locals prepare for A Christmas Evening Downtown

Event raises support for area businesses

By Thaddeus Miller
November 25, 2011 

Downtown's answer to Black Friday will feature 18 businesses along Sixth Street.

The third annual event, A Christmas Evening Downtown, is planned for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and is a way to draw attention to local businesses.

Janette Gauna, owner of JMG Fabrics and Crafts, is a new addition this year. Her store has been open since October.

"I just want it to be a fun night and so people find out we're here, because I still don't think the whole town knows we're here," Gauna said.

The 18 businesses will offer food, drink and entertainment.

Gauna said she will enlist the aid of teenagers from Calvary Baptist Church to feature a living Nativity scene in her store.

Gauna said she will know the night was successful if she gets new visitors to return to the store.

"Shopping local is important; it just supports who we are as a town," she said.

Organizer Penny Glick, owner of The Country Duck and The Farm House, said the businesses will be collecting nonperishable food items for the needy.

Glick sees A Christmas Evening Downtown as a way to reciprocate support for downtown.

"This is a thank-you to our community for helping support us all year round," Glick said.

With the prevalence of online shopping, big-box store sales and those who travel out of town to shop, Glick said the event reminds locals that there are small businesses in Los Banos.

"Think about where your sales tax dollars are going," she said.

Chamber of Commerce President Duane Brehm said some local businesses are struggling, so the event could serve as a boon.

Brehm said many people are out of town during the Thanksgiving weekend, so Evening kicks off the holiday shopping season for small Los Banos businesses.

"It bodes well to have it that first week of December," Brehm said.

Thursday's event is planned from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and attendees who visit all 18 businesses will be entered into a drawing.

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