Main St. merchants make merry Customers thanked with holiday party

November 29, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Main Street in Manchester sparkled with bright Christmas lights and festive decorations as 15 businesses dressed up in holiday finery and invited residents to their party.

The businesses served complimentary refreshments and offered discounts to thank customers for the year's patronage Friday evening.

Visitors who tired of walking could ride from shop to shop on a horse-drawn wagon.

"This is the second year for the horse and wagon, and it is a big draw," said Sharon Nizer, owner of the Tin Rooster. "We just think this is a neat way to thank our customers for their support."

"It's not as warm as the car, but it's more fun," said Erica Rowan, 9, of Hampstead.

The wagon easily filled to its capacity of 25 passengers at each stop. Santa, who took a few wagon rides himself, was everywhere.

"I took a ride with Santa," said Jimmy Bossi, 4. "I sat right next to him."

Jimmy, wearing a ring of red punch around his mouth, told his mother, Michele Bossi, he was hungry as they visited Sandi's Treat Shop. "We have been to six shops, and he's had six cookies already," she said.

Sandi's had candy, and the little boy filled his pockets. Owner Sandi Coppersmith also offered visitors free hot chocolate to ward off the evening's slight chill.

Seven carolers huddled around their steamy cups before breaking into a new round of songs.

"We are thawing out a little," said Penny Griffith, who caroled with her three young daughters. "Your feet and hands get cold when you stand still."

The youngest Griffith, 5-year-old Sarah, brought bells to accompany her songs -- her favorite's "Jingle Bells." If Sarah forgot a lyric, she had only to listen to her older sisters.

"They remember the words," she said.

The children polished off the cocoa and headed back into the night,tuning up for more music.

"People enjoy the caroling, and we enjoy having them hear us," said Susan Edwards.

Just up the street, Front Porch Antiques, where the wagon turned around and made another trip up Main Street, bustled with customers.

"I just missed the wagon so I came back to buy a few more things," said Melissa Scheufele, who came to town from Rosedale. "I really like the small-town shopping. It's so much better than the malls."

Wanna Zimmerman, owner of the antique shop, said she had a crowd of about 200 people all evening.

"This is the third time we have had this open house, and it's the best yet," she said.

Pam Taylor and Patty Lewis made several purchases and several trips back to their cars to unload packages.

"We have done most of the shops," Ms. Taylor said. "Now, we are going to try for a wagon ride."

Both Manchester residents said they enjoyed the annual Open House.

"The festive decorations are great," Ms. Taylor said. "The event really brought people out."

At Flowers in Harmony, Patty Sater called the turnout the best ever.

Santa proved a real draw, too, she said.

Several children cornered Santa Claus in the flower shop.

Mark Krebs said he enjoyed his debut as the jolly old elf, though he had a few costume problems.

With the addition of a few pins, he managed to keep his cap from sliding. His beard withstood many a test from curious children.

"Yow!" he yelled as 5-year-old Matthew Thurston grabbed the white cotton glued to his chin.

"Most of their requests have to do with turtles, Batman and Barbie," he said. "One child asked for money."

At the far end of town, the crowds thinned.

Still, many visitors managed to stop in at Antiques and Custom Draperies, the last open shop on the block.

"I am not counting nickels tonight," said owner Alex Sater. "This is all for good will."

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