Nation Valley News
WINCHESTER — They came, they saw, they shopped.
And they did so in rural Winchester whose downtown core bustled with mostly women in search of bargains at the village’s second annual Shop Crawl, Nov. 12. In their hundreds, the female tide flowed from shop to shop to browse, buy and have ‘passports’ stamped to qualify for a prize.
“This is better than December 24th,” remarked Gary Annable, owner of Annable’s Jewellery. “I don’t get women on December 24th,” he clarified with a chuckle. “It’s all men on the 24th.”
Helping behind the counter, Annable’s sister, Linda McKinley added that turnout at this year’s crawl exceeded its very successful 2015 debut. “We ran out of passports around 11 a.m., and they had to get more,” she said.
“We had 200 people through the doors at noon,” exclaimed Shop Crawl organizer Lisa Williams, shortly after midday in her Main Street Clothing Company store, where a steady stream of customers kept her hopping.
Of Williams, neighbouring retailer Colleen Young commented: “She’s fantastic.”
“We’ve been very busy today; it’s been fantastic, actually,” said Young, at her Forever Young Creations gift shop during a brief lull in activity. “We’ve probably had 200 people through here so far.”
Having opened the new Winchester shop in August — it’s the second Forever Young outlet, with the original still in Chesterville — the proprietor said she “had no idea what to expect” at her first Winchester Shop Crawl event. “I’m extremely pleased with it,” Young said. “I can’t believe how many people come out to it.”
“I hope this will really get people knowing we’re here [in Winchester],” she added.
Echoing Young, CJAM Fashion Boutique owner Colin Jones extolled Williams for doing a “fantastic job” as event organizer.
CJAM had similarly run out of passports when the shop was visited by Nation Valley News. Jones estimated the turnout at 300 or more.
“I’m close to 75 percent over my next best day,” said Jones, whose “unique” shop — offering fashions from around the world as well as dressmaking and dry-cleaning services — has been in Winchester for two years.
He also observed that this year’s Shop Crawl seemed to coincide with a different atmosphere among the buying public. “They’re more in a Christmas mood, which has been missing in the retail industry these last two or three years.”
At the former Durants’ Flowers — now relocated to the corner of Main and St. Lawrence and renamed ‘The Planted Arrow Flowers and Gifts’ — proprietor Kelly Windel was spreading the word of her shop’s upcoming Nov. 23 grand re-opening to the throngs of shoppers.
But Saturday’s Crawl marked the actual debut of the flower shop in its new digs. “We had two weeks to put the store together in time for this,” said Windel. “There have been no real hiccups.”
“It’s insane today,” she said of the Shop Crawl traffic.
Shawn Brownlee of The Town Vintner also remarked on the long lineups at the counter of his newly relocated shop, now based in much larger quarters at the Terry’s Washmart building. In addition to do-it-yourself winemaking, he was promoting the operation’s official grand re-opening sales on Nov. 18-19.
At the counter of Brownlee’s business, Greg Kingston of Cornwall said his wife heard about the Winchester Shop Crawl, and they decided to check it out. “We used to live in Iroquois, so it worked out. It’s been a great afternoon. We bought some Christmas gifts, had some food.”
The lunchtime crowd at Cup of Jo’s filled available seats, while the lineup snaked back from the order counter through the vintage stone building.
At Winchester Print, co-owner Kreg Raistrick said they were “very happy” with the turnout. The business even hired extra staff to handle the incoming customers that day.
The Crawl also benefited Winchester merchants not officially on this year’s circuit. That included Bridals by Al-Mor, where they noticed an uptick in activity.
A dozen merchants took part in this year’s Crawl. See the photo gallery below.
Get into the Holiday Spirit at Winchester Country Treasures, where owners Ken and Trish Boje
invite you to the popular gift shop’s 12th Annual Customer Appreciation Weekend, November 19 & 20.
All regular priced Country Treasures items are 20% off. This includes candles, calendars, furniture
and so much more! Located inside Winchester BMR.