Stores in Downtown Lodi kicked off the holiday shopping season in style. Shop owners decorated their windows and storefronts in Christmas greens and holiday ribbons. Several offered treats and discounts in honor of the Downtown Holiday Open House, organized by the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership.
Director Jaime Watts said they picked this weekend to promote Small Business Saturday, an effort to keep shopping dollars local.
Visitors from Lodi and beyond took in the cheery sights while walking along the bricked sidewalks, cozy in scarves and sweaters.
A five-piece brass band was stationed outside Cheese Central, owned by Cindy Dellamonica. The group played Christmas carols that could be heard from blocks away.
"I tell them they're stopping traffic!" said Tammy Blair, owner of Fashion Safari on School Street, who said traffic was swerving toward her store to hear the band.
Inside Blair's shop, a Christmas tree was decked out in hot-pink and zebra stripes. She offered cupcakes and apple cider to shoppers, along with a free ornament with a $25 purchase, and a 10 percent discount store-wide.
Another shop offered wine and champagne to sip while browsing through displays of elegant clothes, along with sparkling punch and baked treats.
"We're here to begin the season, to get people enthused about the holiday," said Judy Petersen, owner of Pret, a clothing store. In her 28 years with the shop, Petersen said the effort to come together for the holiday season has faded.
"But now it's going well. It's just been revitalized," she said.
Down the street, a new shop lit up the center of their store with an Eiffel Tower covered in sparkling snowflakes.
French at Heart, a home and garden decor store, has been open for 10 weeks, and is still forming their customer base. For the open house, the owner offered hot chocolate, blossom cookies and chocolate dipped marshmallows.
"We want everyone to come together. We want customers to come in," said owner Kay Marie Claxton.
Participating stores also include cellardoor, Sea Salt Cottage and Lodi Cooks.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.