The Block Island Times

Holiday shopping stroll a success

Stores open Tuesdays, Dec. 10 and 17
By Stephanie Turaj | Dec 09, 2013

The feeling during the holiday shopping stroll was certainly festive — and busy.
Some Block Island stores had ribbons on their windows to look like packages. Others were selling custom Block Island ornaments and winter-themed jewelry. There were goodies and snacks available, and special discounts offered.

Participating local business opened their doors on Friday, Nov. 29 and stayed open through Sunday, Dec. 1 for the stroll. After the weekend, The Block Island Times caught up with a few shopkeepers about how business fared.

“It was well-attended,” said Mary Lawless, owner of Watercolors on Dodge Street. “People like the Shopping Stroll because it is a small-business atmosphere.”

Jennifer Milner, owner of Jennifer’s Jewelry on Water Street, said people seemed happy and excited to be on the island. “It was really good,” she said. “Better than last year.”

“It was epic. It was the best one we’ve had,” said Meaghan Hobe, owner of the Peppered Cat on Water Street. Hobe was running a discount on Frye boots and these sold well, she said. She also sold dresses, bathing suits, and Alex and Ani bracelets.

“I felt there was a good amount of people here,” said Leslie Helterline, owner of the Photo Dog. “The boats were packed on Friday.”

Helterline said people were excited to be here for the weekend, and some customers came in several times — once to check out the store and then once again before leaving the island to make a purchase.

“People were buying more,” said Jon MacKenzie, owner of Block Island Trading Company on Water Street. He said he sold the remaining stock of his newest items in store, a wooden window box with a Block Island oceanographic map inside.

Virginia Jaeger, owner of Beachcomber on Dodge Street, said the most popular items for her were winter clothing, which she stocked especially for the stroll (she carries mostly summer clothing).

“Friday was the best day,” said Jaegar, noting that this was the best boat schedule and there was good weather. She also said the arts and crafts fair at the Island Free Library attracted more visitors to her store.

Library Director Kristin Baumann reported that the arts and crafts fair on Saturday, which was the first time the library has held such an event, went well. There were 20 vendors at the event providing food, crafts and boutique items.

“I heard from other shopowners that it brought them business,” said Baumann.
She said there will be two more fairs, on Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, and maybe some on holiday weekends early next year.

If you missed the weekend shopping stroll, many Block Island stores will be open for weekday strolls on Tuesday, Dec. 10 and Tuesday, Dec. 17, from late afternoon until about 8 p.m.

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