Whether it was for baubles or baked goods, downtown Morris was the site of some serious shopping Thursday night.
Local ladies of all ages stopped by stores as part of the Morris Retail Association's annual Girl's Night Out. Downtown merchants doled out discounts, some freebies and refreshments to attendees, and the event ended with an after-party at Chapin's Restaurant.
Mother-daughter pair Sue and Jacki Crawford could be found checking out jewelry and snacking on refreshments at Whimsy. The store offered delicate flower-shaped, iced sugar cookies and wine.
"It's our annual event," Sue said.
Jacki agreed, noting they've come since it started.
Sue said the night is a chance for them to spend some quality time.
"It's something fun that we can do together," Sue said. "And the goodies sure don't hurt, either."
Across downtown, Tammi Janel, owner of Blackbird's Bowl, a newly-opened natural pet food store, set out items for guests. It was her first Girl's Night Out as a merchant, and she said she was excited to take part.
"The vibe is charged down here, that's for sure," she said. "It's our first time, so we're winging it."
Janel said events like Girl's Night Out helped her decide to locate the company's first brick-and-mortar store in downtown. Previously, it had been a consultation and catalog-based business.
"We all, as Morris residents, love our downtown," she said. "We're so proud of it. There's always something happening."
Morris Retail Association President Bob Schubert said after talking with various retailers, he'd heard there seemed to be more traffic in stores than in the previous year. He said that's not surprising, as Girl's Night Out is a well-attended event.
"It's one of the most popular events in downtown and we're growing it farther," he said, noting how the association is working to spread the word to people in the area beyond Morris.
"We're bringing a lot of people from outlying areas to it," he said. "It's a lot of fun."
Terry Kief, owner of The Thoughtful Spot, could attest to getting some good foot traffic. An hour into the night, her shop was hopping with shoppers. She said the annual event is one she enjoys being a part of.
"Everybody seems to be in good spirits," she said. "It's always a good night."
Two of Kief's customers agreed. Jo Christensen and friend Sue Watson took a look around the store, getting an up-close glimpse at some jewelry at the front counter.
Christensen said Girl's Night Out is an event they are sure to attend each year.
"It's our tradition," she said.
She said everyone enjoys themselves while shopping, plus she's bound to run into a familiar face.
"You run into all your friends here," she said.