EASTON, Pa. - Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Easton Main Street Initiative is doing everything it can to encourage people to buy local.
The Main Street Initiative has partnered with the city to transform that shopping experience from something people can dread to something they look forward to, by intertwining it with activities, contests, and items all unique to Easton.
The signature Easton ornaments are being sold at The Carmelcorn Shop this year.
"A little history on the back of each box telling you about that landmark, how it started, what it's like today," said Sia Bassil, the owner and operator of The Carmelcorn Shop.
There are eight different ornaments, including the free bridge, The Carmelcorn Shop and the State Theatre.
Proceeds go to the Easton Main Street Initiative, which has launched several efforts to get people downtown during the holidays.
The Winter Village, which features about 25 local vendors in huts, an ice-skating rink and entertainment, is being coupled with the Share the Joy campaign. If you go to the information hut with receipts from three brick and mortar spots you gave business to, you can win gift cards or an ornament.
"It adds some life to downtown, so I've stayed open a few hours later, so we're staying until 5 or 6 p.m.," Bassil said of the Winter Village.
Plus, after its success this summer, the Initiative has brought back the StoryWalk. Families take a stroll and follow a map to read pages of the book "A Snowy Day" on storefronts.
"We want to encourage them to also shop at our 40-plus brick-and-mortar retailers," said Kim Kmetz, the manager of the Easton Main Street Initiative. "Last year, we have about 30 and in 2021, we added 10 new retailers."
On Small Business Saturday, there's a day full of activities leading up to Easton's 70th Peace Candle lighting ceremony.
"There's ice carvers and pictures with Santa and Cinderella carriage rides, reindeer," said Kmetz.
All of the festive ways to increase foot traffic are appreciated by business owners, still recovering from the pandemic.
"Hopefully it will be a better holiday season for all of us," said Bassil.
There are also gift buying guides featuring presents, all from local businesses. There are already guides for kids, foodies and outdoor lovers, and more categories are being added next week.
The Easton Main Street Initiative is part of the Greater Easton Development Partnership.