City kicks off holiday season with “Shop with the Mayor”

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

(Information via press release from the City of Lancaster)

  32 comments for “City kicks off holiday season with “Shop with the Mayor”

  1. John Mlynar
    November 23, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Please…TJ, I have friends who work at these restaurants, and no they don’t take the food out of the box and VOILA! Stick your head in the kitchen at Yard House….oh don’t have to…you can see it from the restaurant. Have you seen the kitchen at Sushi Zen? Fresco II? Chipotle? Support the BLVD restaurants all you want…and Lemon Leaf and Brooklyn Deli are two of my favorites…but don’t make up stuff about microwave meals because you don’t like Palmdale.

    • T.J.
      November 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

      No problem with Palmdale here bro! I live in “the Dale” but i’m not saying where. hehe! chipotle is alright but it gets bland after you had it all the time. Fresco is too pricey for me but my gf liked it. Yardhouse needs to quit acting like they are still in Huntington beach. this is the av! people dont have as much money here….like me. lol get some cheaper food on that menu! Bex is the same. too expensive! but i can take lots home in a box.

      • John Mlynar
        November 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm

        Tip for you TJ my man…Yard House has a happy hour from 3 to 6 daily except Saturdays, and during Monday night football. Half price appetizers, of which there are several what I consider entrees. And I’m thankful that they’re here because I want have places of that calibre here so I don’t have to drive down below. AND I want my local mom and pops…Steer and Stein, Tacos Deliciosio, Sushi Zen, Mana, Nopgow, Fresco II, Shogun, Lemon Leaf, Rock Inn, Goldfish, Pars, Mediterranean Fresh, Karen’s Kitchen, Chely’s, etc. In short, I want it all! ;) I think Bex is quite reasonable; love the decor. It’s just not my cup of tea. And if you’re looking to bring home food, Claim Jumper will send you packing. And no, it’s not out of the box! ;)

        • T.J.
          November 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

          thanks John :-)

          • John Mlynar
            November 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

            Happy dining…and of course, Happy Thanksgiving TJ!

          • John Mlynar
            November 25, 2011 at 7:03 am

            @Ace, actually I did get stopped for a tailight out a year or so ago on my way to the Mall. No, I did not get out of it. Got a fix it ticket. I have only “got out” of one ticket in my life and that was in Burbank. I switched lanes and my front tires crossed the solid white line, so the officer pulled me over for an illegal lane change. The officer was nice, but it wasn’t until a carload of teenagers raced by us going through the red light that he let me go so he could pursue them.
            What bird is named after me or vice versa?

  2. Miffed American
    November 23, 2011 at 5:25 am

    For me it’s not Happy Holiday’s it’s CHRISTmas period. I celebrate the birth of Christ this time of year. Jews celebrate Haunukah not Happy Holidays and Kwanzians celebrate Kwanza not Happy Holidays. Holidays mean you are taking a vacation. God Bless America! the business’s that recognize Christmas are the ones I will shop at. Happy Holidays get nothing period.

    • William
      November 23, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Businesses are doing the appropriate thing by saying or writing ‘Happy Holidays’ to include all their shoppers and all the holidays, including New Year’s. It’s the ‘holiday’ season. The Christians have a bug up their rears about this which isn’t very Christian.

      I can remember ‘Happy Holidays’ and ‘Season’s Greeting’ on cards from back in the 1950s and they were probably doing that before I was born as well.

      I believe ‘holiday’ derives from ‘holy day’ and isn’t about ‘vacations’.

    • Jo
      November 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

      You can have Christmas if the rest of us can have Halloween back. The right wing fundamentalist in this town have done everything possible to scare the kids off the streets. We had all of about 8 kids this year. What with all the “be afraid” BS, you’ve destroyed one of the most neighborhood friendly evenings of the year. And it used to be a great way for everyone to get to know each other, and know which kids belong to who.

      EVERYONE WHOSE AGAINST THE WAR ON HALLOWEEN STAND UP! Wonder if we can get Fox news to pick up the battle cry, like they have on the FAKE war on Christmas!

      • Matt Keltner
        November 23, 2011 at 10:42 am


        It wasn’t the Right Wing who scared kids off of the street in Lancaster during Halloween! Trust me!

        There have always been weird Right Wing churches and organizations here in this Valley and Halloween activities flourished here in the past! But, strangely, Trick Or Treating has almost vanished in the urban core of Lancaster, the east side of Lancaster and east Palmdale because of one thing: fear of crime!

        With a new demographic making its home in the Antelope Valley, there is also uncertainty and serious trepidation on the part of parents to let their kids Trick or Treat on Halloween on the east sides and core areas of both cities.

        You’re not going to like what I’m about to say, but Trick or Treating on Halloween is a very “Mayberry” pastime which relies on an atmosphere of trust, safety and neighbors knowing each other well and a high level of certainty with regard to the safety of children. If any of those things is absent, there won’t be much Trick or Treating.

        If you have kids and want to take them Trick or Treating some place where people still do that, go to the west side neighborhoods, Quartz Hill, Rancho Vista or go down to Santa Clarita!

        My friends in Tehachapi, Quartz Hill, west Lancaster (west of 20th), Acton, Rancho Vista, west Rosamond and Valencia all had great Halloweens with lots of Trick or Treaters!

  3. William
    November 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Golly. On Black Friday, the BLVD will be packed with Christmas shoppers and the Antelope Valley Mall will be deserted. Oh, the humanity.

  4. TJ
    November 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    this is such a well put-together site and it sorta sucks that the commentary has been taken over by a bunch of over-the-hill negative trolls from the “Hate Rex” crowd.

    • Marissa
      November 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      As hard as it is to believe, there are simply a lot of folks that don’t buy into the “King Rex” PR Machine.
      You should really be questioning why, and it doesn’t matter if its here or on the Valley Press editorial page, people are simply more critical of Lancaster’s blow hard, offend everyone except his so-called base style, than they are of Palmdale’s Jim Ledford?
      Maybe it
      Maybe it’s because while Lancaster HAS given a facelife to the BLVD, and added a few new things (all within a 1/2 block, the rest is still pretty deserted most the time), Palmdale, under Ledfords leadership has added new resturants, new shopping, new hotels, and a new hospital.
      While Lancaster’s mayor has a bad habit of insulting people, using the local sheriff’s department as his personal gestapo, jailing his enemies, silencing his critics, and basically doing everything he can to forget that it’s the hardworking, taxpaying citizens of Lancaster that are funding his little circus, Palmdale goes about their business in harmony with the people who reside there.
      Which city is better managed? Which city offers more? Which city treats their citizens with the respect they deserve?
      It’s not Lancaster.

      • William
        November 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        Well said, Marissa and I’ll add 2 new fantastic parks on each side of town. I’ve lived in Palmdale since 1990 and have been very happy with what Mayor Ledford, the city managers. council members and city staff have done over the years and it shows when you drive around Palmdale.

        The hype about Lancaster from Parris and some residents is inversely proportional to the actual results in the city since I’ve lived here. The Valley Central center was a place I went to when I first moved here but haven’t shopped there in years as it was deserted by some businesses. The old Factory Outlet, I can’t recall its new name, isn’t a big deal. Smart n Final left. As did Fresca II. Mervyn’s and Circuit City before they went bankrupt.

        It’s clear that Palmdale is the premier city in the Valley and Parris is trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. If a Nordstromm’s or a Spago’s ever come to the Valley, it won’t be to Lancaster. But, I am exaggerating a bit there to make the point.

        There are places in Lancaster I like but Parris has poisoned the relationship with Palmdale such that I tend to avoid Lancaster as much as possible. And I suspect there are many residents in Palmdale and Quartz Hill who feel the same.

        • Eric Moore
          November 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

          Well said Williams.

      • Stinger
        November 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm

        Hear, hear, Marissa! Very well put!

        It is not simply a case of some sort of “Rex hating” emotional thing based upon some personal hatred. It’s the reasons WHY I have no respect for him or his hand-picked, personally beholden and appointed commissioners and even council members that is the important thing to note.

        I could care less about the guy personally and have no axe to grind about his personal life, so long as he is not in office abusing authority to rob people of their rights or corrupting the civic institutions of the City of Lancaster. Before he took office and started his shenanigans, I had very little to say about the guy (either good or bad).

        • William
          November 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

          Exactly. It’s his words and actions that have caused many people to criticize and dislike him. Otherwise, if he wasn’t mayor, he’d just be another lawyer in town and no one would write comments and letters about him.

    • William
      November 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Ol’ Rex deserves every nasty comment.

  5. TJ
    November 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    the naysayer trolls will be here in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..

    • Abdul Majeed Askia
      November 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Mayor Rex Paris does say some crazy things sometimes but,he came up with
      a good idea. Happy Holidays and best wishes to everyone!

      Abdul Majeed Askia

      • William
        November 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm

        I bet ol’ Rex has to leave the Valley if he wants to have a meal other than at BeX and maybe use a cloth napkin or if he wants to buy some clothes. Where do you buy clothes in Lancaster other than Walmart or thrift stores?

        • Kristen
          November 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm

          Target, Kmart, Costco, Marshalls, K-Swiss outlet, Levi outlet, Ross, Forge, Harley Davidson, Avenues, DD’s, Factory 2 U, Gen X, all I can think of off the top of my head…so far! lancaster can do better and I think it will with time

          • William
            November 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm

            I walked down the BLVD today at 5:30 PM and although the Farmer’s Market was still going, the restaurants were empty ‘cept for a few patrons: the new wine bar, BeX, the cafe and the Mexican place next to the wine bar, even the Lemon Leaf had only a couple tables with customers. Some Heart of the Valley at dinner time. There were young people wandering around like they would at any downtown after the stores closed and not many.

            On the way home, drove by Restaurant Row in Palmdale and all the lots were almost full.

            As for clothes, I meant ‘nice clothes’ not Target and K-Mart, etc. Do you think Parris shops for clothes at those places or down below? He dare not be seen in Palmdale buying a suit.

          • T.J.
            November 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

            William – congrats! you win the award for “AV Times Sour Old Beeyotch of the Month”.

            Now go enjoy your high sodium, out-of-a-box, microwaved, greasy meal at “Restaurant Row” and STFU! thanks!

          • Matt Keltner
            November 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm

            Have fun T.J. ! It’s futile…

          • John Mlynar
            November 23, 2011 at 7:51 am

            TJ, with all due respect, where are these “high sodium, out-of-a-box, microwaved, greasy meals” you talk about on Restaurant Row? Yard House? Sushi Zen? BJ’s? Fresco II? Claim Jumper? Famous Daves? Outback? Applebees? Chipotle? Red Lobster? Red Robin? Out of a box? Microwaved? Really? Sure, you can find meals all all these places that will increase your waistline and perhaps your sodium intake…just like you will find at restaurants on the BLVD, or just about anywhere else. You will also find a myriad of healthy selections at both locations.

          • T.J.
            November 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

            hey John! you can buy “meals” from Applebees, Claim Jumper, El Torito, Chilis etc in a box in the frozen foods section of any supermarket! Read the sodium level on one of those boxes next time your in the store. All they do is ship it from their factory where it is pre made and put it into a box, then they send it to their Palmdale restaurants and voila ! Sodium on a plate! yeah, they throw some garnish on it to make it look “fresh” but youre getting the same frozen crap that you saw on in the freezer section on Aisle 5 the other day! Trust me brother, I work in the food service and there is very little real “cooking” that goes on! Bon appetit! lol

    • William
      November 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      TJ and Matt, we can add you to the list of people that make Lancaster such a delight. The list is topped by Parris, Marquez, and the whole bunch.

      You sound like those tea party republicans who are defending their clownish candidates and that on-going debate circus. How Pagliacci?

      • Matt Keltner
        November 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm

        …uh huh, sure! whatever you say Willy!

        • William
          November 23, 2011 at 2:29 am

          Sorry it went over, way over, your head, little one.

          • T.J.
            November 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

            tea party? are you for real? no bro, I’m green all the way! alright!

Comments are closed.