Seeking to tap into new customer base, Montrose merchants to stay open later

Several retailers in the Montrose Shopping Park are staying open a little later on Fridays in hopes of appealing to new group of consumers who can’t typically get there in time on weeknights or who want to duck in for a quick purchase before dinner.

Merchants have scheduled a special event called “Taste and Shop” for Oct. 19, with several stores offering food to visitors while remaining open until 7 p.m. — one hour later than usual. There will also be a street band performing and Ken Weatherwax, who played Pugsley in the 1960s TV series “Addams Family,” will sign autographs.

Special events will continue one Friday a month, though stores will remain open late every Friday, said Mary Dawson, co-owner of Revelation Tops, who started the later Friday hours about three weeks ago.

The Montrose Shopping Park Assn. has earmarked $5,000 to help fund the monthly special Friday events.

Dawson’s business, as well as Mountain Rose Gifts — which she co-owns with her husband, Dale — and It Takes a Village…Kids kicked off the grassroots effort and now has about two dozen shops participating, she said.

“I started sharing it with my neighbors, who decided to jump in,” Mary Dawson said.

She conceded, however, that it may take some time for the new hours to draw a significant number of new customers.

GiGi Garcia, owner of It Takes a Village…Kids, said she joined the Friday movement because she could see the opportunity to attract more customers right outside her door.

“The whole evening dining, strolling folks from Montrose is a total untouched market,” she said.

She has also noticed more people on the sidewalks in the evenings.

“I don’t know if it’s the economy or what. It just seems like a lot more people are out at night,” Garcia said.

Sebu Cahoyan, co-owner of The Clothing Market, said his store has been open later on weeknights since it opened almost two years ago. Since then, Friday has become the busiest day of the week and he said other stores should jump on the bandwagon.

“I support that 100%,” he said. “I think every merchant should stay open on Friday nights.”

The outdoor shopping district is well known for its festive decorations for Christmas, but this year it is also getting a make-over for fall and Halloween, including orange-colored lights on the trees and banners that beckon “Fall in Love with Montrose.”

“We’ve created this whole mood and we’re hoping that people will come out on a Friday night and soak up the atmosphere,” Mary Dawson said.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam


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