MORRIS – Late night deals, free snacks, and Santa Clause will all be present in downtown Morris on Friday Dec. 7.
Many downtown businesses will be participating in “Midnight in Morris,” an annual sale event organized by the Morris Retail Association. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to midnight and will feature a variety of businesses from restaurants to retail. For a full listing of which businesses will be participating, go to www.shopmorrisil.com.
Apple Butter and Shugie’s owner Jane Kerr said that her Friday deals will also go on through Saturday and Sunday, featuring 25 to 30 percent off select items. These items include clothing, ornaments, stuffed animals and two for one Yankee candles. She’s expecting a large crowd at her store, named for two of her beloved dogs.
“[Last year] you could barely move there were so many people,” Kerr said.
Kerr said that in order to join the Morris Retail Association shop owners must pay $300 in dues. In return they are featured on various advertisements and participate in large events like Midnight in Morris.
“It’s absolutely worth it,” Kerr said, “Also you want to be a team player and help out. This is why Morris is thriving.”
Kara Cummings, owner of Oleanders clothing store, agreed.
“[The Retail Association] gets people downtown who wouldn’t normally venture down here,” Cummings said, “It’s very beneficial to be a part of it.”
Oleanders will have 20 percent off the entire store during the sale.
Denise Pankey, Assistant Secretary of the Morris Retail Association, said the goal of the event is to bring tourism to downtown Morris and to sustain the small businesses.
“Morris has an excellent downtown. That doesn’t just happen by accident; it takes a lot of work,” Pankey said.
Montage Wine and Spirits owner Michelle Xydakis said she hopes customers will take a break from the late night shopping to get a bite to eat at her bar and restaurant.
Montage also will sell gift baskets, host solo female vocalist Cheryl Rodey and will feature Santa Clause. The jolly old elf will be available for pictures from 7 to 10. All donations will go to Lion’s Club. Xydakis sat on the ground as she spoke, putting the finishing touches on dozens of gift baskets. She said events like Midnight in Morris help to remind customers of downtown businesses.
“These events really give us our presence,” Xydakis said, “It’s good for the rest of town too.”
On the Monday before the sale Laurie Horn of Sheridan spent her birthday as she does every year: shopping and spending time with her mother. This year they decided to give downtown Morris a try.
“I love these stores, they’re very cute,” Horn said, “I’ll definitely be back.”
Horn said that Sheridan doesn’t have a wide selection of unique shops so she went online and read about the Morris downtown. She hopes to return on Friday for Midnight in Morris.
“If I can get my husband to drive me I’ll definitely come back for it,” she said.
Karen Gronski, owner of Athletic Outfitters, said that she expects a huge turnout as long as the weather cooperates.
“We’ll get lots of traffic as long as the weather isn’t a deep freeze blizzard,” Gronski said.
Athletic Outfitters will be offering
as much as 20 percent off the entire store with a few exceptions.
Gronski said she is very thankful for the event and for the Morris Retail Association.
“It takes a lot of work to make a great downtown, and we’ve got one,” Gronski said.