LANCASTER – The City of Lancaster and The BLVD Association teamed up Friday to host “Shop with the Mayor,” an event aimed at encouraging area residents to shop locally for the holidays. The BLVD event featured displays of the wide variety of gift options available in downtown Lancaster this holiday season, as well as meet-and-greet opportunities with participating local merchants. The evening culminated in an opportunity for attendees to tick gift items off their holiday lists alongside Mayor R. Rex Parris and members of the Lancaster City Council.
“The 2011 holiday season marks a turning point for downtown Lancaster and for the city as a whole,” said Mayor Parris. “While Lancaster is home to a variety of well-established businesses that have offered excellent holiday gift options for years, such as Duke & Slim’s and Antelope Valley Harley-Davidson, the array of businesses now open in downtown Lancaster have made these offerings complete. For the first time in many years, you can truly find a gift for everyone on your list right here in Lancaster.”
More than 40 new businesses have joined the BLVD business improvement district, dubbed “The BLVD Association,” over the past two years.
“A number of entrepreneurs have taken a leap of faith and opened businesses here in downtown Lancaster, despite economic challenges,” said Jill Cooper, president of the BLVD Association and Vice President/Regional Branch Administrator for Antelope Valley Bank. “These courageous individuals need our continued support in order to thrive. I encourage area residents to venture downtown, try out a new business, and explore all that the BLVD has to offer this holiday season.”
Scott Ehrlich of InSite Development, in partnership with the City, is launching a new kiosk program to help fill gaps in the BLVD’s retail offerings. With low overhead and start-up costs, the kiosks will also serve as a business incubator program for entrepreneurs who are ready to get their feet wet, but aren’t yet prepared to dive head-first into owning a brick-and-mortar business. A prototype kiosk, fabricated locally by MGS Custom Bikes on the BLVD, was unveiled at the event.
“We are taking the same idea of kiosks that one would find at an indoor mall and giving it a unique style to suit the new BLVD,” said Ehrlich. “These kiosks are designed to draw pedestrians to sections of the BLVD where there is currently not heavy foot traffic, thus providing benefits to existing businesses while also broadening the selection of merchandise downtown has to offer. This concept has worked phenomenally well in other downtowns, such as Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. It is the next logical step in the evolution of the BLVD.”
“Shop with the Mayor” featured performances from the Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley choir, as well as gift wrapping by Antelope Valley High School’s Associated Student Body members.
Shop with the Mayor also marked the kick-off of downtown Lancaster’s annual Coats for Kids drive. The BLVD Association has once again partnered with the Antelope Valley Jaycees for the drive, and several businesses throughout the downtown area will serve as collection points. Residents are encouraged to donate new and gently used coats for individuals of all ages at any of the following businesses through Friday, December 30th:
- Academy of Style, 661 W. Lancaster Blvd. (Suite 101 in the Artists’ Lofts)
- Accurate Bookkeeping and Tax, 44804 10th St. W.
- All About Fitness, 500 W. Lancaster Blvd.
- Allstate Insurance, 764 W. Lancaster Blvd.
- AV Dance Studio ’81, 526 W. Lancaster Blvd.
- Backdrop Home Décor and Furnishings, 715 W. Lancaster Blvd.
- Bohn’s Printing, 656 W. Lancaster Blvd.
- The Face and Body Place, 44832 N. Date Ave.
- Graphic Experience, 624 W. Lancaster Blvd.
- In Perfect Balance, 44848 N. Elm Ave.
- Vintage Styles Now, 759 W. Lancaster Blvd.
All donations will benefit local charities such as Grace Resource Center; St. Vincent DePaul; and Valley Oasis, the Antelope Valley domestic violence shelter.
“The BLVD Association’s ongoing commitment to the Coats for Kids drive illustrates the essential role local businesses play in our community,” said Parris. “They provide the face-to-face interactions and personal relationships with the business owner that simply can’t be found in a typical chain store in a mall. I urge local shoppers to give these businesses first chance at your patronage this holiday season – once you do, you may never shop anywhere else.”
The BLVD will play host to a number of events throughout the holiday season. For further information on events and a complete listing of downtown businesses, visit www.theblvdlancaster.com.
(Information via press release from the City of Lancaster)