Although the media reported a disappointing holiday season for brick and mortar retail stores in general, the consensus of the downtown Warwick merchants was quite different.
“Although the season was a week shorter due to a late Thanksgiving and there were a few days of rough weather, the holiday season was very strong at Newhard’s,” said Mayor Michael Newhard, who owns Newhard’s, The Home Source, on Main St. “We had, in fact, some record days of sales. These are clear indicators that Warwick is a regional shopping destination that has some of the best specialty shops and agribusiness in the Hudson Valley.”
Considering the continued slow economy and an early weekend snowstorm in the middle of the Christmas shopping season, Jerry Schlichting, co-owner of Frazzleberries Gift Shop, was still happy to report an increase in shoppers in his store and, from what he hears, in other shops throughout the village.
“It was a more positive Christmas season than I’ve seen in the past three years,” he said. “We didn’t have storms like Irene and Sandy and there seemed to be more Christmas spirit. The snow hurt us a little that one weekend and it was a short season but a few days before Christmas it was busier than usual and we made up for that.”
Although on Sunday, Nov. 18, the weather was cold and blustery with temperatures in the low 20s, shopkeepers reported a respectable turnout for the beginning of the annual celebration of Home for the Holidays in downtown Warwick.
The Merchant Guild and participating merchants had long been planning a bigger and better holiday season with a host of new ideas to encourage everyone to come shop locally and enjoy some fun for the family.
Visitors crowded downtown shops, many of which were decorated for the season and offering “open house” events with free refreshments and special offers.
And to get everyone in the holiday spirit, there were events throughout the downtown area.
The Warwick Valley Chorale, for example, strolled along Main St. and Railroad Ave., visiting many of the stores and restaurants along the way. Thanks to the generosity of many business sponsors, the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Merchant Guild were able to continue offering free horse and buggy rides. And with the participation of the Warwick Historical Society, the decorations, free parking, the second annual gingerbread contest, and the Angel Tree donations, Warwick was a fun place to shop.
There was also the fourth annual “Small Business Saturday,” a campaign backed by American Express on Nov. 30.
Shoppers came out in droves to the downtown business district not only on that Saturday but also throughout the entire weekend.
It all made for a hometown experience that no mall can offer.
– See more at: Warwick Advertiser Online