Shop local drumbeat heard loud and clear downtown

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 13, 2012 

Scores heeded the siren of A Christmas Evening Downtown, essentially a pitch by small businesses for shopping locally.

Twenty businesses offered free food, drink and entertainment as part of the Dec. 6 event.

"It's marketing 101. A lot of people know we're here, but they've never come in. They don't know the variety we have or that we do special orders," said Sherry Pearson, owner of Pearson's Jewelers, who was optimistic about the event helping her bottom line. "They may not shop tonight, but some of them will come back."

John Whala, executive director of the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce, said the event gives an opportunity for the public to see what's available in Los Banos.

"We have some very unique shops. You don't have to go to San Jose or San Francisco," Whala said. "You can buy local, get it local and help support the local economy."

Teresa Nava has spent the past eight weeks at home recovering from a medical condition. She said she was eager to leave the house and do something social, even if it meant attending A Christmas Evening Downtown by herself.

"I've been locked up for two months," she said. "It's just me (tonight), my crew said they were busy so I just left."

Bonnie Roberts said she hopes people bring their children downtown this Christmas season.

"The lights, the music, every shop is just open and I think the prices are good," Roberts said.

Music was part of the lure of getting people downtown.

During the event, a small group of carolers entertained people outside of businesses, Christmas tunes were piped over the speakers at Henry Miller Plaza and Jesse Chew played classic rock tunes on his guitar inside The Farm House.

Sandy Lemas assisted with a raffle in which the best chance of winning involved visiting all 20 businesses that participated in the event. Lemas stood on Sixth Street handing out maps of shops involved with A Christmas Evening Downtown. She said turnout was "very good."

Leah Costa, owner of Fleur de Lis, said she and other downtown business owners look forward to the event all year.

Businesses that took part in A Christmas Evening Downtown are Accessorize It, Central Valley Arms, The Country Duck, The Farm House, Fleur de Lis, Health Time, Heart to Heart Fabrics, JMG Fabrics & Craft Supplies, Joyeria Imperial, Los Banos Drugs, Pearson's Jewelers, Pierre's Delicatessen, Phoenix Books, Positive Changes, Shiner's Bar & Grill, Simply Unique, Thoreson Numismatics, Tony's Rendezvous, Una Bella Salon and V&S Furniture.

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