story and photos by Joel Rafkin
Merchants opened their doors on Sunday, a day that most businesses are closed on Van Buren's Main Street, for shoppers seeking to get a jump on the madness that accompanies holiday shopping. The annual Christmas Open House event was held this weekend on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Several merchants provided complimentary hot apple cider and cookies for shoppers as they perused stores' inventory.
Raye Montgomery, owner of Main Street Ice Cream Parlor & Sandwich Shop, said the number of people shopping was fewer this year than last. She blamed the economy and the unseasonably warm weather saying most people are probably spending time with their family on this nice day.
Marcia Cooksey of Marcia Cooksey Interiors also said business was slower this year.
Candice Harvey, her husband and her stepdaughter, Kate, 10, recently relocated to Van Buren from Fort Smith. They took advantage of the Sunday business hours to get acquainted with the shops and merchandise along Main Street.
A group of women came from Bella Vista specifically for the shopping event. Jennifer Reis brought her granddaughter, Lorelei Woodlee, 3, of Washington D.C. who was visiting her grandmother. Another friend Cele Heinen of Bella Vista and Aurea Collins of Chicago accompanied Reis. Woodlee found a vintage doll at Coffee and a Good Book that she just had to have … and she got it!