Downtown readies for ‘Christmas in July’ sales event

Published 3:43 pm Friday, July 15, 2022

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The Natchez downtown corridors are brimming with Christmas cheer this weekend.

Diane DuPont, executive director of the Natchez Downtown Alliance, planned the “Christmas in July”  sales event for 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday to promote downtown businesses, many of which are new.

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Some vendors on Main Street had a similar event in past years, and DuPont said she saw an opportunity for expansion.

“I walked the pavements,” DuPont said about reaching out to the downtown storefronts.

Since coming to Natchez about three months ago to start a new position with the Downtown Natchez Alliance and the national Main Street Association, she’s tried to meet all the business owners personally.

“Everybody was wildly excited to participate,” Dupont said, “and wanted to do things cohesively.”

There will be 17 participating vendors on Franklin, Main and Commerce streets, all offering specialized sales.

Lily Roberts, owner of Soiree Boutique at 505 Main St., said she hopes the event will drive sales of her summer inventory.

Soiree carries women’s clothing, accessories and shoes which will be on sale, anywhere from 20% to 75% off.

“I’m hoping it will bring the community downtown, together, to shop locally,” Roberts said.

“It’s our first big sale like this,” Roberts said. She became owner in January, and the boutique has been open for seven years.

“Everyone should take advantage of the great sale; it only happens once a year,” she said.

The Natchez Olive Market at 636 Franklin St., another participating vendor, has only been open for about three months. Owners Sarah Beth Willard and Liza Sharp have been “foodies” for long before.

Sharp is chef with a penchant for fine oils, and Willard is versed in charcuterie.

Together, they offer 46 oils and balsamic vinegars. Some oils are infused, with flavors like cayenne, garlic or blood orange, and others are uninfused and prime for searing.

“Many people aren’t used to these kinds of products, or they have to travel out of town to get them,” Willard said about the vast array of products.

“We’re mainly just excited to get people through the doors, being that we’re so new,” Willard said.

“It will be a good introduction for a lot of people who haven’t come into the shop yet. We hope everyone will come and preview the store, and get to use the products like we do,” she added.

Chesney Doyle, Board President of the Downtown Natchez Alliance, said there is a person and a story behind every business.

“They’re excited about the future and plans we’re making and want to be participating in all of it.” DuPont said.

This fall will host October and Halloween-themed festivities, like a more family-oriented trick or treat for little feet event.

In early September, at a date and time to be determined, a representative from the Main Street Association will host an open forum to answer questions about the kinds of funding and other opportunities that the recent Main Street designation will mean for Natchez.

“We’re trying to establish relationships with downtown owners, and it’s paying off,” DuPont said.