Malls, shmalls -- try `Main St.,' city says

Prizes, events offered to lure shoppers

November 30, 2006|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,Sun reporter

Baltimore business boosters want holiday shoppers to forget the malls in White Marsh, Towson and Columbia and try the city's "Main Street" shopping districts in Highlandtown, Pigtown and Fells Point.

The Baltimore Development Corp. kicked off two weeks of promotion yesterday for its nine "Main Streets" shopping districts by unveiling events, discounts and prizes aimed at attracting shoppers to historic neighborhoods.

"We're trying to remind people that we have unique shops," said Mary Pat Fannon, director of the BDC's Main Streets program.

At yesterday's event at The Markets at Highlandtown, City Council President Sheila Dixon, who will become mayor in January, related a personal example of how the local shops provided a dress she could not find anywhere else.

Dixon said that she and her daughter were traveling throughout the East Coast looking at colleges and stopping off at malls to look for a dress for the junior prom last year. They did not find one until they visited an Eastern Avenue shop, according to Ruffin Brown, Dixon's executive director.

The "Miracle on Main Street" event, hosted by former Baltimore Ravens player Michael McCrary, also featured a two-minute shopping spree for Highlandtown resident Shawana Tyler, Fannon said.

Shoppers can sign up in one of the 800 participating businesses to win prizes such as a new car, a luxury cruise, airplane tickets and $1,000 gift baskets. Santa will appear at several events, and on Dec. 2 World Figure Skating Champion Kimmie Meissner will host a tree lighting in Fells Point.

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