A little rain wasn’t enough to keep shoppers from hitting downtown Morris Thursday night for the ninth annual Girls Night Out.
Perhaps they weren’t out in droves, as was the case in previous years. But those like Kelly Hayse, who needed to purchase something for Mother’s Day and wanted to buy local, weren’t going to let a few raindrops deter them.
“I came last year and it was a blast,” Hayse said as she browsed a table outside Serenity Salon & Boutique on Liberty Street. “It’s a great way to support local business.”
Local is the key word here.
Hosted by the Morris Retail and Restaurant Committee, 27 retailers in downtown Morris participated this year, offering deals and raffle tickets to customers.
The raffle tickets came in handy later in the night, as the event culminated in a party at Chapin’s Restaurant on Liberty Street, where organizers say a couple thousand dollars worth of prizes were raffled off.
Jane Kerr, event chairman and co-owner of Apple Butter & Shugie’s on Liberty Street, said Girls Night Out is always held on the Thursday before Mother’s Day and that local retailers plan their spring inventory around the event.
“As a retailer, this is our biggest event next to midnight madness,” Kerr said. “It’s a fun and crazy environment.”
Kerr said the rain was unfortunate, but that shoppers were still going to make it out.
“We still expect a lot of traffic,” Kerr said, adding that people from outside Morris often come to town for it.
People like Shayla Samples and Kathy Patten, who came up from Dwight to do some Mother’s Day shopping.
“Supporting small town business is important to me,” Patten said. “I think it’s a great way to do that.”
Kathy Watland, owner of Serenity, said the event also shines a light on the downtown.
“It’s a good thing to support your local downtown,” Watland said. “We live, work and play here.”
For Morris resident Kathy Goodale, that all combines to create an all-around good event.
“It’s a fun night,” Goodale said. “It’s a great way to buy local and support the downtown.”