Restaurants and businesses partner for gourmet candlelight shopping event

MEALS AND DEALS:  (Above) Mary Brayton and Julie Chamberlain make their way down Maple Street after shopping at The Painted Turtle during the annual Gourmet Candlelight Shopping event hosted by the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

MEALS AND DEALS: (Above) Mary Brayton and Julie Chamberlain make their way down Maple Street after shopping at The Painted Turtle during the annual Gourmet Candlelight Shopping event hosted by the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

BIG RAPIDS — Shopping for family and friends during the holidays can be a stressful process. In order to alleviate any potential headaches, the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association hosted its annual Gourmet Candlelight Shopping event Thursday.

The event has changed in the more than a decade that has passed since Big Rapids shoppers first roamed the street by candlelight in search of deals, according to Kathy Straley, owner of Fairman’s Apparel.

“It’s evolved over the years,” she said. “We just added the gourmet part of the event in the last few years and it’s worked out great because local businesses and restaurants partner together.”

When shopping, dining and community come together, it’s a recipe for success.

“We love Gourmet Candlelight Shopping because we always partner up with Cranker’s,” Straley said. “They showcase their food and we get a lot of people in.”

“For us, it’s a fabulous event. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the free beer,” said Emily Robison, Fairman’s general manager with a laugh.

For some of the candlelight shoppers, the event is an opportunity to visit and save at stores they already frequent. Sara Davis used the extended business hours to shop at Fairman’s with her daughters Abigail and Lily.

“They are always very helpful when we come in,” she said. “We like to shop local if we can.”

Shopping local is essential to the candlelight shopping experience, according to Lynne Scheible, executive director of Artworks.

“It’s been busy all night,” she said. “It’s always fun during the holiday season to see people you know from the community – to get a chance to check in with them and say, ‘Merry Christmas!’ And it’s fun to see them shopping local.”

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Posted by Adam Gac

Adam is the Pioneer City/County Reporter, covering government in Mecosta County. He can be reached by e-mail at agac@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8347.

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