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Dec 11, 2018 4:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Owners Say Holiday Fest Helped Boost Westhampton Beach Businesses Saturday

The Westhampton Beach Family Fun Holiday Festival on Main Street on December 8 helped boost local businesses during the quieter winter months. ANISAH ABDULLAH
Dec 12, 2018 10:08 AM

Business was better than usual in Westhampton Beach Village’s downtown district over the weekend, as the village’s annual Family Fun Holiday Festival attracted visitors to the area during its quieter season.

Families were seen along Main Street on Saturday enjoying different holiday treats and activities that were held in 12 participating locations. People dressed as snowmen and Minnie and Mickey Mouse wandered the street as children stopped to take photos with them. Two food trucks and a Bideawee adoption van also were parked on Main Street for guests to check out in between stores.

The Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce has organized the winter event for more than 10 years as a way to help small, local businesses that might otherwise struggle to stay open during the winter months. This is the only winter event in Westhampton Beach that aims to boost the local economy.

To get visitors to purchase items at the holiday festival, the chamber offered free gift wrapping in the former Books and Books store on 126 Main Street for any item bought that day.

“We had a very, very good weekend,” said Leslie Kennedy, manager of the clothing store Mustique. “People who normally might not have been out that day brought their kids to the event and bought holiday gifts.”

Mustique has been a longtime participant in the annual event. Its employees handed out candy canes on Saturday.

Pawcasso Art Studio and Pet Boutique was more secluded than other festival participants, being located down Moniebogue Lane, but its staff said they still saw a high turnout and new faces.

“Because we’re not on Main Street, a lot of people don’t even know that we’re there. Things like this is about the only way we get attention,” Pawcasso’s owner, Barbara Martorelli, said of the event. “I’d say we had about 150 people that came into the store that day.”

Pawcasso provided kids paint classes, ornament decorating, live music and cookie decorating for both people and their dogs on Saturday, and Ms. Martorelli said that she later received emails from families thanking Pawcasso for its involvement.

When asked if it is challenging to remain open during the wintertime, Ms. Martorelli replied, “Absolutely. We’re lucky if we sustain ourselves.”

Lynne Jones, owner of Lynne’s Cards & Gifts, said that her store benefited from the event as well. It featured Christmas-themed crafts for both younger and older age groups.

“I think we had a good day,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not solely about that day. A lot of times, parents are coming in with kids and may see things they didn’t know we had and come back another day. This event is about familiarizing people with the stores. Just by being in them is helpful.”

But some businesses that did not participate said they saw no substantial difference in their sales that day.

Elyse Richman, the owner of Shock, Baby Shock and Shock Ice Cream in Westhampton Beach, called it “just a regular day” at her stores. She chose not to include her three locations in the event this year, as she had in the past.

She explained that the holiday event was more festive in past years, with kids caroling, a horse-and-buggy on Main Street, and a bouncy house and s’mores toasting on the Great Lawn.

“There were more people in town because it was an event being held, but not as many as we’ve had in the past,” she said, adding that she felt it was not properly promoted throughout the village ahead of time.

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Congrats to all who participated in this wonderful event. It is truly Holiday Spirit. As for those who refused to participate-sad.
By tenn tom (235), remsenburg on Dec 12, 18 8:13 AM
Thank you to everyone that donated coats to our annual One Warm Coat Drive
We will be accepting Donations through the holidays
Men , Women’s and Children’s
Thank you again
Happy Holidays ��⛄️
By Shock (42), on Dec 12, 18 12:45 PM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser