By Maddy Vitale
Worried about grabbing that last parking space at the mall or getting lost inside the cavernous confines of the big-box retail stores on Black Friday?
Then you might want to head downtown in Ocean City to enjoy the quaint shops offering a relaxed, old-fashioned atmosphere, complete with Christmas carolers and Victorian-style decorations.
“Christmas in the Downtown” is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The event features discounts at local shops and a warm and entertaining time throughout downtown Asbury Avenue between Sixth Street and 11th Street, said Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian.
The dread of long lines and the need to head out early in the morning to catch the best deals on Black Friday don’t exist in Ocean City, Gillian said.
“Downtown Ocean City provides shoppers with an old-fashioned family atmosphere. From the decorations, to the carolers, to Santa and horse and carriage rides, the atmosphere in Ocean City at Christmas provides almost a ‘Christmas movie’ feel and a true sense of community,” she explained. “A walk down Asbury Avenue in Ocean City can lift ones spirits.”
Gillian said there are many benefits to shopping in the downtown for the extravaganza called “Our Miracle on Asbury Avenue, an Old-Fashioned Family Christmas,” which began in 2008.
“Shopping downtown for the holidays, people are supporting their own community, which offers unique stores and items that are not found in other big-box stores or malls,” Gillian noted.
The shops along Asbury Avenue offer patrons specialty items.
“The downtown’s uniqueness is not comparable to big-box stores,” Gillian said.
Gillian added that while retail chains offer discounts, so do many boutiques, stores and other businesses in Ocean City.
“Some downtown businesses offer sales that are even greater than larger chain stores,” she said.
And something missing from retail chains is the warm shopping experience offered by Ocean City.
“The personal customer service is always appreciated. Whether it is having your gift quickly wrapped or an add-on from the business owner, shoppers will not be disappointed,” Gillian said.
Residents may also want to shop local to support their own community, she pointed out.
“Many of the small business owners in Ocean City live in Ocean City. The local businesses are the ones that support the events and schools in the area,” Gillian said.
For information about the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce call (609) 399-1412, visit www.oceancityvacation.com or download the new Ocean City Vacation mobile app on your smart phone.