Monday, December 9, 2013
Friday was our absolute last big store event, our Holiday Happy Hour, before Christmas. We've had a a "Holiday Preview," "Open House," and Black Friday/Small Business Saturday events - most were a success - all have been exhausting to plan and execute. But, this past Friday, was to be my favorite event. We hold a fun holiday party with wonderful treats from my friend Marie of the Comfort Farm and booze (no wonder it's my favorite event). In conjunction, our town, Ponchatoula, "turns on the lights" in a beautiful ceremony that begins with a large tree and then trickles out on to the streets and storefronts that stay open late. Santa even comes - it's a big deal!
This year, there was a bit of rain in the forecast; three hours prior to the ceremony the Mayor cancelled the event with no reschedule - no tree, no choir, no santa this year! I can't tell you how disappointed our tiny main street was - some of my fellow vendors spend weeks creating magical window displays for the annual storefront contest, other shops and restaurants booked musicians, and like my event, a few shops had catering brought in to please their customers.
Now, I know safety is paramount and no one was advocating for people to run around in a rain storm - but, this is Louisiana. Just like Eskimos have a number of words for snow, so do we have for rain. From mist to gator tears, we can handle a variety of weather conditions and are generally well prepared. Amazingly though, not a drop fell that night. Supposedly, "weather professionals" had been consulted in the decision making; however, when I consulted mine aka the Weather Channel - we were in the clear and it appeared we would stay that way for hours into the evening.
We continued on with our event (as a few other retailers did too) and for me, we had one of the best turnouts in our five years in business and this event. What a relief! When we finally got to close up for the night, we passed some of our favorite shops to see if they were still rocking and only 3 were open with one couple strolling on the sidewalk. A pretty dismal site this close to Christmas when you're in retail. Hopefully, next year's annual request for merchants to donate funds to the Christmas Lighting will begin with an apology.
***some pictures are from the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page