On Thursday, December 3 from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. holiday shoppers in the Grand Rapids area can enjoy Holiday Shop Hop, a self-proclaimed “shopping extravaganza” that is bound to get you into the holiday spirit.
Holiday Shop Hop highlights unique stores, restaurants, and much more that is offered by the neighborhoods of Grand Rapid’s Uptown District: East Fulton, East Hills, Eastown and Wealthy Street.
This local event features store specials, live music, light refreshments and free shuttle transportation between districts. Many businesses will extend their hours on Thursday and some will carry over specials to Friday and Saturday.
“Each business can add their own holiday twist with drawings, giveaways, pop-up stores with local artisans, charitable giving of portion of their proceeds and even some random acts of music,” explained Lenn Beardsley, Chairman for the Uptown Marketing Committee and co-owner of the furniture, art and decor store Wealthy at Charles.
Uptown’s history dates back to the 1800’s, transitioning from farmland to commercial developments in the 1870’s. Like many historic neighborhoods, the area has seen economic ups and downs. In 2004, Uptown was selected as one of the first “Neighborhoods in Progress” by Michigan Cool Cities. As predicted, ten years later, the area is now a flourishing community.
“This event started as a way to simply create awareness about shopping local in urban neighborhoods. Today it’s a celebration of the holiday season and of thriving neighborhoods bustling with shoppers,” said Dann Boyles, owner Rebel Reclaimed—a local boutique in Grand Rapids.
Stephanie Johnson, owner of Urban Exchange, said, “I love to see our streets flooded with people! It such a festive event to launch our holiday season. This is a great opportunity for shoppers to explore areas and shops they have never visited before.
The Grand Rapids community embraces this local celebration of the holiday season. It continues to gain popularity with more than 70 businesses opening their doors and thousands of people expected to attend.
“Last year we estimated about 5,000 people in attendance and it continues to grow each year,” stated Beardsley.
Stores are not the only participants in Uptown’s Holiday Hop Shop. Restaurants and eateries will join in the holiday cheer too. Brian DenBoer, manager of the Harmony Brewing Company, said that the brewery is looking forward to the event and will help get you in the spirit with their festive beers including a cranberry wheat concoction called “Oh Be Joyful,”. They will also be serving boozy hot chocolate accompanied by rock and roll holiday music on a good old fashion turn table and vinyl records.
If all that shop hopping sounds tiring, don’t worry there is a free shuttle service throughout the night. Volunteers and buses will help you navigate your way through Uptown.
“If you want to enjoy a night of festive stores and delicious restaurants all filled to the brim with happy holiday shoppers, this is the night for you. Bring some friends and make a night out of it! It will probably become your new favorite holiday tradition!” said Boyles.
For more information or to volunteer at Shop Hop visit uptowngr.com
The Awesome Mitten would love to hear your favorite Uptown store or holiday gift shop in Michigan! Comment them below and perhaps you’ll see a feature piece written about them.