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Carthage holds downtown business event

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CARTHAGE — Carthage-area businesses were booming Saturday as customers flowed into nearly 30 participating stores to take advantage of raffles and specials during the Downtown Is Open for Business event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Businesses in Carthage and West Carthage advertised their participation in the event by placing a bundle of balloons outside their shops. Customers could get a playing card from each business to participate in a poker run to win a gift-basket raffle.

“We were going to have our second anniversary, and Teri said, ‘Why don’t we involve the whole community?’” said Louise Psarras-Bly, owner of An Eclectic Boutique, referring to Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce President Teri L. Ellis.

The 301 State St. shop, which has been open for two years, spearheaded the event to get new customers to visit Carthage.

And it worked, Ms. Psarras-Bly said. An Eclectic Boutique was packed halfway through the event with people buying handmade soap, antiques, knitted goods and handcrafted jewelry.

“Today has brought in a lot of first-time customers,” Ms. Psarras-Bly said.

The shop has expanded into a soap-making studio and carries a variety of goods made throughout the state. Ms. Psarras-Bly said that at the craft fairs she frequents throughout the state, she finds artisans to feature in her store.

Mrs. Ellis said Saturday’s event came together over the course of several months.

Public response has encouraged the businesspeople to consider holding two such events a year, “maybe one in the spring and one during the holidays,” Mrs. Ellis said.

Paula S. Scott, Carthage, stopped at An Eclectic Boutique around midday to purchase handmade earrings.

“We try to shop in Carthage and support local businesses instead of going into the city or to chain stores,” she said.

Next door, Hairy Business hair salon, 106 N. Mechanic St., was giving away free hot dogs to lure new customers.

“We’re usually really busy on Saturdays because we have tanning,” said owner Barbara J. Harris. “You can always have more people come in, though. That’s what I always say.”

Mrs. Harris said she already had talked to some new faces by early afternoon.

“Some came in for the cards, so we’ve had people we’ve never seen here,” she said.

Emily E. Weatherhead, Carthage, stopped outside the salon with her family and friends to participate in the poker run.

She found out about the event through her employer, the Church Street Diner, 107 Church St., where she is a waitress.

“I just want to help support the local businesses,” Ms. Weatherhead said.

She had stopped at the diner and at Carthage Federal Savings and Loan, 313 State St., and was planning to stop at many other businesses throughout the day.

With four hours left in Saturday’s event, Mrs. Ellis said 18 people had finished the poker run and entered the raffle.

“I’m just very, very pleased about how today turned out,” she said. “This is the way I was hoping it would be like.”

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