LANCASTER — Lancaster should be ideally positioned to take advantage of Valentines Day. After all, the city bills itself as the Red Rose City and roses are one of the three most popular gifts given that day.
Downtown merchants, however, want shoppers to know they have a one-of-a-kind alternative to the traditional cards, candies and flowers, options that are less expensive than what men traditionally spend. In 2013 the average man spent about $175 for cards, candies, flowers and dinner, according to the National Retail Federation.
But if it has to be a red rose, flower shops such as Rays Flowers and At Home by Casey stand ready on Main Street.
So, too, does Gallery 102 on Williams Street.
The gallerys roses dont come in bunches. They are single stems, wrapped with red cellophane and cost just $1.50. And they will never wilt.
Charlotte artist Kathryn Todd created the rose, gluing two Hershey kisses together, wrapping them and then attaching them to a silk flower stem.
Rays Flowers, At Home by Casey and Gallery 102 are just three of many downtown merchants offering a holiday preview this Thursday evening with the promotion In Love with Downtown L.A.
The preview is the idea of two of downtowns newer merchants, Carla Bryant with Gallery 102 and Casey Ballard with At Home By Casey. Bryants gallery has been open downtown since March. Casey, who sold real estate in Lancaster County for 18 years, opened his flower and decorating shop in November.
A good opening in December got Ballard looking for more opportunities to invite customers and to network with other downtown merchants.
Much of the focus of Thursdays event is on the arts. Pieces from painters, potters and photographers will be for sale at various galleries. There will also be live performances of music and poetry.
Gallery owners admit that some of the art can be pricey, but they promised that there are plenty of items for the price of hometown hero Andrew Jackson $20 or less.
Its all original art, nothing is mass produced, said Christina Chastain, owner of Chastains Studio Lofts on Main Street. Her gallery features pieces from 24 painters, 15 potters and four jewelers. Their work represents everything from the whimsical to the classical, Chastain said.
Bryants Gallery 102 even had works by several young student artists, from grade school to Lancaster High age.
Gown emporium C.B.s Limited is also scheduled to be open, as will be Hi-Lite Fashions. Cooper Furniture plans a mattress and massage sale.
If you get hungry Gus Family Pizza Restaurant will offer samples of select menu items, and then there is always the Cafe Taylor, which boasts of having the best Philly cheesesteak sub south of Philadelphia. Cafe Taylor owner Charles Vann is expected to announce his Valentines Day menu, which could include items such as shrimp and salmon, pork tenderloin and roasted chicken breast.
And, of course, Charleys Cafe, Lancasters not-so-well-kept secret for fine dining, will be open too.
The event starts at 5 p.m. Shoppers are encouraged to come and park their cars and walk. Thats one of the events charms, Chastain said.
Thats the feel of downtown, she said. You dont drive, you walk between unique shops operated by the communitys residents. Its a great home feeling.
And, she added, more business is always good business.
Don Worthington • 803-329-4066 • firstname.lastname@example.org