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Bob Maxey
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November 21, 2013
Grosse Pointe businesses are bursting with holiday glamour, festivities and welcoming smiles to encourage shoppers inside.

In the first Deck the Door contest, sponsored by the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce, business owners and their staff are tossing around ideas of how to best decorate front doors and windows.

Detroit Custom Framing on Mack in Grosse Pointe Woods went with a red and white theme while Soulliere Garden Center on Kercheval in the City is draped in traditional green roping with red ribbons and lit with small white lights.

Gabrielle Reilly of Flowers by Gabrielle in Grosse Pointe Park said she would be using jewel tones and vintage items on her store front. Both are integral items to the business.

"This is a great idea. This is part of our industry and we want to be a part of the community building project," she added.

Mike Kramer of Kramer's Bed, Bath & Window Fashions said the store, located on Kercheval in the City of Grosse Pointe, will be adorned with ornaments, snowflakes and swags of garland and lit with floodlights. The door's wreath also will be decorated with ornaments and snowflakes.

A Paris-inspired theme, including little white lights, will be constructed for Chez LouLou Salon's first Christmas on Kercheval, said Danielle Hubler.

"We're excited to be here. (Decorations) will be modern with white and black and Eiffel Tower ornaments," she said. "We've had two preliminary meetings and it will be up by the night of Nov. 25. We're going to go out of our way to make it nice."

"Magical" is the word Sherry Allor of Detroit Custom Framing uses to describe the store's seasonal decorations.

White tulle shot with silver threads is draped across Detroit Custom Framing doors and is the backdrop for the shiny and frosted red ornaments and white stems of crystal berries. Red and white peppermints and green trees with shiny and frosted red ornaments complete the vision.

Eleanor Walsh, owner of Pretty Things Lingerie, said her store's decorations will be "pretty, eclectic, soft and fluffy and powder puff."

Every Grosse Pointe business has the opportunity to Deck the Door, said Jenny Boettcher, the chamber's president and executive director.

"The goal of this event," she said, "is to encourage residents and friends from surrounding communities to come to Grosse Pointe, see our festive doors and shop and dine locally.

"This interactive contest will be promoted through the chamber's website and social media. A panel of judges will decide on who will be the winners for the Most Creative and Most Festive doors. The People's Choice award is decided by the community. Voting is done by visiting the chamber's website," she said.

Winners will be announced on the chamber's home page Friday, Dec. 13, and in the Grosse Pointe News. Participating businesses must have doors decorated by Wednesday, Nov. 27. Chamber members participate free. Non-members must pay a fee to participate.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, encourages shoppers to support locally-owned stores.

"Small Business Saturday is a great reminder of the wonderful businesses established right here in Grosse Pointe," Boettcher said. "Behind most of the storefronts are our friends and neighbors. Small business owners have made a tremendous investment in our community. The goal of Small Business Saturday is to support local businesses that create jobs, add unique character to the community and help to financially boost the economy."

Reilly agreed. "It's important to have local businesses to shop in. I appreciate I can go close by to get the things I need. If you don't support local businesses you won't have them any more."

Both Reilly and Kim Soulliere point out local businesses, and theirs in particular, have one of a kind items creating them to suit the customer.

"We are making one-of-a-kind ornaments," Reilly said. "It's unique to us."

More importantly, said Karen Sklar of Margaret Rice, shopping locally keeps the local economy going.

"It's an important thing. You don't want the local village businesses to die out. It's important to property value."

2013 president of the Grosse Pointe Board of Realtor Mario Como said he is a supporter of local businesses.

"There have been many discussions between real estate, local municipalities and the state of Michigan in 'place making,' bringing people together. Grosse Pointe has all the elements of place making — a shopping district and walk ability," he said.

"Supporting the business district is critical to the strength of the community. The key is people need to pause before a 10- to 20-minute drive and ask, 'Can I do this within a mile or two of my home to support a local proprietor?' It's easy to click and shop but taking the time to support the community . . . means you are truly appreciated."

Walsh added, "People should absolutely shop locally. We have chosen to anchor our stores in the Village for many reasons — to give back to the community; the Village can add value to the economy of Grosse Pointe, thereby ensuring our captivating community retains its values.

"It is my hope we can all survive based on our unique, boutique approach and customer service, customer service. We need to offer values such as proving a routine service the big box stores do not offer."

One way to support Grosse Pointe businesses is to peruse the locally-owned stores' merchandise during Ladies' Night Out and Men's Night Out. The former is from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, and includes special retail offers.

Men's Night Out is from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, and includes special deals from retailers and dinner specials from Village restaurants. During the evening, men also can shop from the gift registries set up the previous week. Ladies' and men's nights out details are available at thevillagegp.com.

Additional events

Tree lighting — 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, in the Village. The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program accepts new and unwrapped toys at the event.

The Grosse Pointe ART Center is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, normal business hours and noon to 4 p.m. every Sunday, Dec. 1, and noon to 9 p.m. Thursdays through December.

Free gift wrapping is available from noon to 6 p.m. at Grosse Pointe ART Center Dec. 5 through 7, 12 through 14 and 19 through 21.

Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Produced by the chamber, the parade begins on Kercheval at Lewiston and continues down Kercheval through The Village. After his arrival, Santa visits with families in The Village until 4 p.m.

Free parking is available in off-street lots on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30 through Dec. 22. Parkmobile electronic parking payment users can get a one-time dollar off parking at any meter in the Village or City from Thanksgiving to Christmas by entering the code GPHOLIDAY.

New events this year include:

Santa's Village, located on Kercheval between St. Clair and Notre Dame, is open to children from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 20 and Dec. 7, 14 and 21 to visit Santa Claus. Also in Santa's Village is the "Passport to Santa's Village" featuring children's activities including crafts, letters to Santa, a Holly Jolly Jamboree, story time and photo opportunities. Youngsters can make cards for community seniors to be distributed through Services for Older Citizens. All children's activities take place in Santa's Village 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, 14 and 21.

Grosse Pointe Shores tree lighting begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 1.

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