Lauren Ellerman has a vivid childhood memory of singing in a choir with her brother during Christmastime at a men’s clothing shop. She recalls her parents browsing for gifts while local families did their own holiday shopping, and everyone seeming so happy and spirited.
This is exactly the scene Ellerman, 33, is trying to recreate during the inaugural South Roanoke Holiday Open House from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday.
During the event, locally owned shops and restaurants on Crystal Spring Avenue in Roanoke will offer discounts on food, beverages, clothing, jewelry and housewares. Ellerman herself is one of the owners of The River & Rail Restaurant, so she has a direct interest in inspiring folks to shop local this season.
Ellerman explained, “One of the major focuses of our restaurant is supporting local farmers. Supporting local [business] is one of the cornerstones of our own business, so it made sense to have our neighborhood support all of its local shops.”
There are 10 participants in the open house, all offering a variety of deals. Shoppers can get these special offers by purchasing a coupon book for $15 at any participating location now through the evening of the event.
The deals include:
* Garland’s on Crystal Spring: 10 percent off total purchase (except for Barbour brand) during the event.
* The River & Rail Restaurant: $50 gift certificates for $40 during the event.
* Fork in the Alley: Free s’more with the purchase of an entrée during the event, and $5 off a $20 purchase until Jan. 15.
* Tinnell’s Finer Foods: Half-off a pound of Benton’s Bacon until Jan. 1.
* The Second Yard: 10 percent off framed art and lamps during the event.
* Goldsmith’s Jewelers: Free cleaning and inspection of jewelry during the event and a $50 gift certificate for $25 (must be redeemed by Dec. 31).
* 7-Eleven: $10 off a case of wine and a free small Slurpee during the event.
* Bubblecake: Cupcake cards offering five cupcakes for $10 during the event.
* Stedman House Interior Design: 10 percent off during the event.
* Eric Fitzpatrick: The artist will be selling paintings in the Stedman House Building during the event.
It’s not all about the shopping, though. Ticket proceeds will benefit Family Promise of Greater Roanoke, of which Ellerman is a board member. The organization provides shelter to homeless families.
“The basis of Christmas is ‘there’s no room at the inn,’ and here we are providing shelter to people who need it,” Ellerman said.
If the event is held in the future another charity may be chosen, but the partnership seemed fitting and the selection was supported by other participants of the event this year.
So far, the response from participating businesses and neighborhood residents has been positive.
“Grandin has a wonderful holiday parade, Old Southwest has the parlor tour, downtown has Dickens — I thought it was about time for South Roanoke to do something neat for our neighborhood. I hope folks from all neighborhoods will come,” Ellerman said.
If the event is successful, she plans to hold it again next year.
For now, Ellerman is just hoping the finished product resembles that memory from her childhood.
“Next year I really need to get some cute kids singing I guess, to really make it complete.
For more information about the South Roanoke Holiday Open House, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SouthRoanokeHolidayOpenHouse.
South Roanoke Holiday Open House
When: 6 to 9 p.m., Monday
Where: Crystal Spring Avenue, Roanoke
Contact: 400-6830 or www.facebook.com/SouthRoanokeHolidayOpenHouse