Businesses in Camden, Rockport boosted by holiday festivities
Camden — Business owners in Camden and Rockport said they experienced a boost a business during the weekend of Dec.1. The two communities were alive with holiday spirit as Camden's Christmas by the Sea and Rockport's Holiday on the Harbor drew shoppers — and holiday cheer — into the respective towns.
Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Member Services Director Karen Brace said she was primarily involved with Holiday on the Harbor.
"It was a business booster for Rockport for sure," she said, noting businesses in Rockport village appeared busy throughout the weekend.
Brace said Holiday on the Harbor is viewed as a celebration for residents as well as a shopping opportunity, noting festivities are conducted with "an all around approach."
Brace said Christmas by the Sea also attracted a large turnout in Camden. Chilly temperatures on Friday, Nov. 30, did little to deter parade-goers, and she said a light snow on Saturday, Dec. 1 was "really helpful for Rockport."
"From the chamber point of view everything was really great," Brace said.
Cathy McClain has worked at Once A Tree in Camden for eight years. She said business Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, was "phenomenal." While Sunday was slower, she said it was still a fairly good day for business. She explained some businesses offer a sale only on Friday, but Once A Tree ran special discounts throughout the weekend.
"We had a lot of really nice people through and everyone seemed really happy," she said.
Caitlin Christie at the Loyal Biscuit in Camden said the store ran a sale, but did not elect to run extended hours. She said her perception of business was that it was fairly steady throughout the weekend and she said the store did "normal business" during the event.
At Josephine on Elm Street in Camden, store manager Eliza Collins-Leavitt said business was "excellent."
"We had a great night," Collins-Leavitt said of Friday, Nov. 30. She said the boutique ran a sale and extended hours on Friday only, but experienced steady business throughout the weekend. She added that business on Friday was comparably busy to previous years' business during Christmas by the Sea and "maybe even a little better."
Camden Development Director Brian Hodges said he heard participation in activities related to Christmas by the Sea was good and the weekend was positive for Camden businesses.
Staff at Leonard's on Commercial Street in Rockport said business during the weekend was "moderate." The boutique participated in a fashion show at The Hartstone Inn in Camden on Dec. 1 and staff said that event attracted shoppers to the store later in the day.
Leonard's ran a store-wide 20 percent off sale that staff said was still being offered Dec. 4.
At Sherman's Books and Stationary in Camden manager Danica Fullington said business was "great."
"We were busy all weekend," said Fullington. She said Sherman's ran a 25 percent off sale Friday night, a 20 percent off sale on Saturday and a 15 percent off sale Sunday.
"Saturday was crazy because Friday was so cold," Fullington added. "I think [customers] forfeited that extra 5 percent off to be warmer."
Fullington said many local customers special-ordered books from Sherman's to take advantage of the discount.
Ethan Raymond of Rokai in Rockport Village said Holiday on the Harbor was "a blast." In an email, Raymond said the luminarias lining Pascal Avenue Saturday afternoon and evening looked "fantastic going through Rockport" and many people were visible as they walked and rode the trolley through town. Raymond added he is already excited to begin working on plans for Holiday on the Harbor 2013.
Lisa Farley of Hoboken Gardens in Rockport is one of the organizers of Holiday on the Harbor. She said business was mixed in Rockport.
"I feel that there was, at some places, a better turnout than others," she said.
Farley said businesses in Rockport Village were busier than businesses along Commercial Street and in other parts of Rockport.
In an Dec. 4 interview, Farley said 2012 marked the second year of Holiday on the Harbor, and weekend business was busier than it had been in 2011. Farley said the luminarias along Pascal Avenue were a sight to behold, and she and other organizers planned to discuss the overall event in a follow-up meeting later in the week.
"The people who came out loved it," she said, applauding the work of volunteer groups who organized and put together the luminarias.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org