Nature and tradition count on us this holiday season
The days are growing shorter and nights longer as we take a hayride down the calendar toward the Winter Solstice. Every gust of wind sends a few dead leaves whirling to the ground, where they’ll slide across the pavement or become lodged in the still green grass.
Everything from brisk temperatures to the very aroma of the crisp air will draw people to the sidewalks in increasing numbers, and when the novelty of fall passes, the necessity of holiday shopping will continue to hold them.
Or so we hope.
Fall was made for window shopping. Warmly lit windows provide an invitation while chilly air gives a nudge from behind. The experience of finding a little warmth in each window makes us welcome that chill in between, without which there wouldn’t be any contrast.
It’s the same solicited discomfort that makes hot chocolate best when coming in from the snow or that makes thick blankets into paradise in a cold bedroom. It’s a satisfaction those things don’t yield on a summer’s night.
During The Corydon Democrat’s walking tour of downtown Corydon in the spring, interviews with various independent retailers made it clear that capitalizing on the opportunities of the holiday season is crucial to their success.
Jewelers told us that those last few days before Christmas are far more important than Valentine’s Day where annual sales are concerned. Several novelty stores said there is no day to compare with Light Up Corydon, held each year on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Stopping in at Boo & Booms ‘ downtown’s new Halloween, magic and fireworks store ‘ it’s apparent that when it comes to selling spooky props and costumes, there is no time like the present.
Nature and holiday tradition are again preparing to give downtown Corydon the opportunity to sustain itself. And it’s again time to think about how we will contribute.
Shopping local, independent stores first is probably the biggest step any one of us can take to keep downtown Corydon and other downtowns alive. Cheaper prices at mall department stores aren’t so cheap once skyrocketing gas prices are factored in.
Columbus Day helped drive home a simple fact of downtown Corydon parking. With government offices closed, there appeared to be a surplus of parking spaces all day. Just imagine if owners and employees of all businesses on the square parked elsewhere.
During the busiest shopping days of the year, we should be good hosts and leave those spaces to our guests and to those among us who most need them. Besides, hitting the sidewalks is good public relations and a pleasant experience for anyone interested in the viability of downtown.
Reserving spaces for public servants is not a positive step.
In the end, the merchants themselves have the greatest potential to increase their bottom line. Through cooperation on everything from hours to inventory, and through each manager’s own forethought and creativity, some stores always perform well despite unfavorable economic trends.
And that is very encouraging.
Without our downtown businesses, Corydon would be only a collection of historic buildings. There would be no warm invitations to step in out of the cold.