In coordination with “Small Business Saturday,” residents can take part in a tree-lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa Claus and other holiday-themed events to bring shoppers to the avenue.
The Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) is coordinating the event on Saturday, Nov. 30, to encourage residents to shop locally. The following three Saturdays, local businesses will stay open later to accomodate local shoppers.
“When you’re spending money at small businesses, you’re spending it locally,” said Mark Caserta, executive director of the BID. “Locally owned business spend money at other local businesses, churches and charities. It strengthens the community.”
And some local businesses are planning their own ways to attract customers.
“The goal is to have people enjoy the evening,” said Leslie McKeown, owner of Poppy at 217 Fifth Avenue. “We’re going to do a little wine and maybe have some music, just to make it nice and festive.”
McKeown opened up her fashion store after leaving Manhattan because rent became too expensive. Being in Park Slope gives her an advantage because of the support she receives from local residents.
“I love the community feel in Park Slope,” she said. “I’ve lived in the neighborhood for six years and Fifth Avenue has always been known for it’s restaurants, but now more and more stores are popping up.”
The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 3rd Street. For the event, an antique automobile will drive Santa Claus up and down Fifth Avenue and the MS 51 chorus will provide entertainment.
Freddy’s Bar show scenes from holiday movies on its outside wall. Co-owner Donald O’Finn said that while Freddy's isn’t selling merchandise, per se, it’s important for all businesses to be a part of the community.
“I think we often forget how great our neighborhood is,” he said. “We travel great distances is to see our friends, but the best and most interesting stores are in Park Slope.”
O'Finn admitted that chain stores will likely have bigger discounts, but there is something special about stimulating the local economy.
“This is about local stuff, not about traveling to Target to get underwear cheap,” he said. “It’s important to support the neighborhood.”