That’s why the transition from sidewalk to interior was so delightful when I stepped into Garden Gate at 121 N. Elm Street earlier today. The A/C refreshed like a cool front, and all around me, Christmas! Festive trees, twinkling lights, candles, decorations, gifts. Crisp fall or not, the holidays are arriving on the square!
This coming weekend, November 12 and 13, is the Denton Main Street Association’s (DMSA) annual Holiday Open House. “It’s a more than 20-year-old tradition in Denton,” Garden Gate owner Traci Davis said. “I bought Garden Gate almost 10 years ago from (the late) Janice Spurgeon, the original owner and lady who first had the Holiday Open House idea.”
In the late 80s, Janice started coordinating with fellow downtown merchants to cost-share a fall promotional campaign to encourage customers to get a head start on the holidays.
Traci was still new in the Garden Gate mainstay when the DMSA recruited her to their board and she joined the tight-knit downtown merchant community. Eager to engage, she plugged in fast, taking over where Janice left off organizing the long-standing Holiday Open House tradition. Under Traci’s leadership, the official holiday shopping kick-off weekend moved under the DMSA banner where it has thrived ever since.
Mellow Mushroom owner Monte Jensen is the DMSA President. “Holiday Open House is good for Denton!” he exclaimed. “Money spent at locally doesn't go to large, online retailers; the majority of money spent here is spent in Denton again. Once that money leaves our economy, it belongs somewhere else.”
Why is a weekend tailored to shopping important to a restaurant owner?
“There are several really good reasons,” Monte explained. “First: if the money spent locally stays here, it is that much more likely that it'll make its way to my establishment. What's not to like about that? Secondly, the money spent here provides tax dollars necessary to support Denton’s infrastructure. Some random big business in Seattle isn't going to fix our potholes. Thirdly, all that foot traffic and shopping makes people hungry. Maybe those hungry people will have something to eat or a drink at Mellow Mushroom. And finally, diversity of business - a mix of restaurant, bar and retail - is vital to the health of our downtown business district. Monocultures don't typically thrive, but diversity does!”
Well said, Monte! That is economic vitality in a nutshell.
This year, more than 45 downtown businesses are participating in Holiday Open House. Featured products will include art, jewelry, clothing, books, records, music, wine, sweets, home décor and lots of Christmas everything. Like Monte said, the downtown eateries, coffee shops and pubs are part of the experience, too. Shoppers will discover specials, door prize drawings, refreshments and music along the way.
Whatever the weather doles out this weekend, don shorts or sweaters accordingly and get your holiday #dentoning underway at the Holiday Open House. Ready or not, it’s time!
Holiday Open House details are available at www.dentonmainstreet.org and at #downtowndenton.
KIM PHILLIPS is vice president of the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau at the Denton Chamber of Commerce. She loves promoting Denton’s original, independent spirit through the city’s sense of place and cast of many characters. She can be reached at email@example.com.