Downtown shopping season begins

December 04, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Downtown Holiday Open House in Hagerstown got off to a soggy start Thursday morning as a light drizzle speckled the brick sidewalks in the heart of the city.

The annual event marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season downtown and features a variety of discounts at more than 20 participating shops.

Diane Cushwa, marketing director for R. Bruce Carson Jewelers at 8 Public Square, said her store has participated in the open house "since the beginning of time."

"We've been in business since 1902," Cushwa said. "With all the new businesses around and all the new looks downtown ... We're a steady. We're so pleased to see the growth."


R. Bruce Carson Jewelers is offering a 20 percent discount on select items until Saturday, Cushwa said. In addition, the store will hold three drawings for chances to win jewelry.

"We just want people to enjoy the gifts they get from us," Cushwa said. "They are a timeless memory and hopefully will become heirlooms."

About a block north of Public Square in the first block of West Franklin Street, an art exhibit will be on display at the Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery Inc.

The gallery's founder, Ron Lytle, said his aim is to help local artists gain exposure and, at the same time, draw art lovers from other areas to the downtown.

"Why not bring them here?" Lytle said. "People are starting to come downtown. They have to get out in the community to see all the changes."

Lytle said the gallery will show the current art exhibit until Dec. 15.

Bikle's Ski Shop at 7 N. Potomac St. is offering a 20 percent discount on hats, gloves, thermals and ski and snowboard socks during the open house, Bikle's co-owner Barbara Tritle said.

This time of the year is the busiest, she said, especially when local ski resorts open early.

"It gets the adrenaline going in my customers," Tritle said. "It's a good sign for skiers and snowboarders."

Tritle said Bikle's has been in business since her father, Bill Clowser, opened the store in 1966. Events such as the open house help stimulate the local economy, she said.

"I think it brings in new customers who might not be familiar with our business as well as old customers," Tritle said.

The Gourmet Goat & GG's Restaurant at 41 N. Potomac St. is giving away apple cider until the open house ends on Sunday, co-owner Paul Deputy said.

The business will throw a Happy Hour with Santa from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Deputy said, and a Lunch with Santa from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Deputy said the Downtown Holiday Open House, among other things, helps promote the variety that Hagerstown has to offer.

The open house "is to get people interested in downtown again ... To let people know it's safe," Deputy said. "It's to let them know they can get unique food instead of franchise food."

If you go:

What: Downtown Holiday Open House

When: Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.

Where: Downtown Hagerstown

To learn more, visit

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