Holiday shopping goes 'Late 'til 8' in downtown Marysville

Herb Hamilton, left, and Bert Carlson return to the shops of Third Street to serve as the
Herb Hamilton, left, and Bert Carlson return to the shops of Third Street to serve as the 'Strolling Minstrels' of the Downtown Marysville Merchants Association's 'Passport to Christmas' on Dec. 7.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — At the same time that Comeford Park was celebrating "Merrysville for the Holidays" on Dec. 7, the merchants of historic downtown Marysville were staying open "Late 'til 8" to offer extended shopping hours as part of their annual "Passport to Christmas" event, but the Downtown Marysville Merchants Association has no intention of going to bed early again just yet.

Mary Kirkland, owner of Hilton Pharmacy, explained that about half a dozen businesses in and around the "old town" block of Third Street will continue to stay open "Late 'til 8" through Dec. 21.

"Hilton's had a great day that Saturday," Kirkland said of her customer traffic on Dec. 7. "Several customers mentioned that they'd made a special effort to get into the spirit in downtown Marysville, by using their holiday shopping 'passports' from the merchants as guides to find specials and unique gifts. One of our loyal customers started with lunch at Froso's, then shopped at all the stores in the neighborhood, before depositing their 'winning' passport at Hilton's."

"We had a stellar Saturday," agreed Lorene Wren, co-owner of Wrenhaven Vintage Market. "I'm so pleased with our community for coming out to participate during the day. The evening hours were a bit slower, but I think it was just too cold to come out. Maybe I should advertise that we'll have hot cocoa," she laughed.

"Our Late 'til 8 extra shopping hours were a bit quiet, probably due to the bitter cold evening, but those who came in were excited to have a few extra hours to browse, both before and after the Electric Lights Parade," said Kirkland, who echoed Wren's assessment that this year's Passport to Christmas drew more customers to the downtown merchants than previous years' events. "This year was the first that many of the businesses have stayed open late, so we'll have to evaluate how successful it's been before we make a commitment for next year. We're always searching and planning for fun events, all year round."

Wren is happy to follow the consensus of the rest of the downtown merchants, but she personally supports the return of "Late 'til 8" next year.

"I'd like the Marysville community to be able to count on this as a tradition," Wren said.

According to Wren, the Wrenhaven Vintage Market's more popular items on Dec. 7 included snowmen that were handmade from old bottles, salt and pepper shakers, table settings and holiday-themed home decor. As for the Hilton Pharmacy, Kirkland reported selling a variety of items, from fashionable scarves and unique ornaments to "fartless" chili mix and holiday-themed fragrant foaming soap.

"As always, we just want to thank our wonderful and loyal customers, without whom running this business would not be half as fun," Kirkland said. "We count on them every day."

"After celebrating our one-year anniversary on Third Street, we couldn't feel more blessed," Wren said. "This community has really welcomed us. We have truly fabulous customers. They're committed to shopping local. I also have the best neighbors a shop owner could ever ask for."

Kirkland added that many of the downtown merchants will offer promotions and individual store events during the final week of holiday shopping this year. Hilton's invites shoppers to its "Snowflake Saturday" on Dec. 14, during which anyone can bring in a hand-cut paper snowflake, to add to the store's collection, in exchange for a 20-percent-off coupon. On the following Saturday, Dec. 21, the family-owned pharmacy will conduct its first-ever ugly Christmas sweater contest.

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