Eau Claire businesses begin holiday shopping season - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire businesses begin holiday shopping season

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Small businesses in the area were looking to get a head start on the shopping season this weekend. Downtown Eau Claire's Holiday Season Opener was this weekend.

"The holiday or the Christmas season is probably the biggest season of the year for most retail businesses, and we really depend on that," said Jane Wolf, who owns Silver Feather on Barstow Street.

Some Eau Claire businesses aren't waiting for Thanksgiving. Several downtown shops took part in a holiday season opener this weekend.

"The holiday season opener coincides with the gun deer opener, so of course it's a busy shopping season for those who aren't hunting to perhaps go out and enjoy all of the things that we have going on. We have refreshments, and open houses, and all sorts of things...prizes for all of the districts of downtown," said Downtown Eau Claire's Salina Heller.

"Our product is different. We have interesting menus in the restaurants, the pubs are a very unique atmosphere, and then in my own business at Details, the product is very unique. We have cashmere sweaters, and cashmere socks, and things you wouldn't find in big box stores," said Mickey Judkins, who owns Details Direct on Water Street.

The variety isn't the only thing that has shoppers out and about ahead of Black Friday.

"It's not crowded, it's just nice. We can grab some lunch down here, have some coffee, see some cool things. You just don't find that if you're going to one of the big box stores," said shopper Kari Dahl.

"You're not just selling stuff, you're selling a whole experience. And the downtown works for that, where it doesn't work for the big malls or department stores. You just can't create that atmosphere," said Wolf.

Some business owners say they've seen bigger crowds this weekend than they have all year.

"It's been very busy today, we've just been trying to get the store put back together, because people have certainly come out, it's been a lot of fun. We've seen people strolling the street, enjoying the weather, we were blessed with beautiful weather," said Judkins.

Businesses on Grand Avenue, Barstow Street and the Phoenix Park neighborhood took part in the Holiday Season Opener. Water Street also celebrated their Holiday Block Party as part of the event.

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