Eleven downtown business owners will be participating in a wine and cheese shopping stroll downtown on the Thursday before Derrick Days, April 25.
The merchants are a mixed bag of restaurants, antique shops, and clothiers, but all of them are going into it with a sense of adventure. In addition to offering wine and cheese (a few are only offering iced tea and cheese), the stroll will include late hours. The stroll will be after the Mystery Art in Tucker Town fundraiser at the Warehouse, which is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The stroll will begin at 7 p.m. and conclude around 8:30 p.m., according to Fran Townes, chairman of the Derrick Days Committee.
“That’s a nice addition, and that way we have Derrick Days events all the way through the week,” Townes said.
Having later hours has been tried on occasion, but this is specifically a Derrick Days shopping experience.
“It’s just to have stuff going on so people can get out and about and see what’s downtown,” said Tresa Shimonek, owner of the Vintage Farmhouse, which sells furniture, decor and repurposed antiques in a shabby chic style. “We’re trying to make downtown a place to go.”
Pat Kelly, owner of This and That Antiques is also participating in the stroll.
“The antique dealers have tried this before, but when we get all the merchants working together staying open, it helps us all,” Kelly said.
Angel Schiffer, owner of Bittersweet Boutique, a cupcake and coffee shop, will be open both this Saturday for the Second Saturday promotion, and will also be open on April 25 for the Derrick Days stroll.
“I think it’s a great idea to have a wine walk,” Schiffer said. “There needs to be more things like that just to get the town out and doing something different and unusual.”
While the owners are willing to open their doors late in the evening for shoppers and wine-drinkers that Thursday, most of them are still planing to close their doors on the day that thousands of people flood into downtown for the actual Derrick Days festival.
The festival day is chaotic, and more people tend to come in looking for bathrooms than purchases, according to shop owners.
“Everything happens in this block,” said Vintage Farmhouse’s Shimonek. “I’m closed on Derrick Days.”
Serious shoppers aren’t interested in downtown that day, she said. People on the streets are more interested in the festival than shopping.
“I have a furniture store,” Shimonek said. “You can’t get your car in here. Nobody wants to carry anything. It’s just not worth it,” she said. “I’m participating in Second Saturdays. I participate in most everything. I just don’t open on Derrick Days.”
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