HOULTON, Maine — This holiday season, the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce wants shoppers to walk into local stores and look as excited as children on Christmas morning.
That is why they are urging business owners to create jaw-dropping displays to coincide with the “Winter Wonderland” theme of this year’s holiday season in the community.
For the second year, the Chamber is sponsoring a business- and a home-decorating contest. Homeowners and shopkeepers are encouraged to decorate their homes and businesses to coincide with the theme, and prizes will be offered in several categories.
“The Chamber’s goal is to create an atmosphere and attitude throughout our community where every single person, visiting or shopping, will leave inspired and awed by the efforts each shopkeeper and homeowner put into helping create this winter wonderland,” Lori Weston, executive director of the Chamber, said earlier this week.
Businesses throughout the community already are gearing up for the holiday shopping season and will officially usher in shoppers with an open house on Sunday. Numerous stores in historic Market Square and throughout the rest of the town are opening their doors and slashing prices at their shops throughout the day.
The theme for this year was partly inspired by economics, Weston said.
“Everyone has an old box of lights or decorations hidden away somewhere,” she said. “The theme makes it easy and doable for everyone who wants to be involved.”
Marilyn Martin, who was shopping in downtown Houlton earlier this week, said she was eager for holiday sales.
“I come over here a lot, especially now that most places are taking Canadian money at par,” said the Woodstock, New Brunswick, resident. “I love the little shops down here and I like the [Aroostook Centre] Mall in Presque Isle. It will be nice to see everything decorated for the holidays.”
Martin’s friend and fellow New Brunswick resident Jean McNeal agreed.
“I’m coming back,” she said.