March 16, 2006

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Nashua Publisher's Note: Not just for business
By Jeff Rapsis

Check your appointment calendar and make time to check out "Spring Trends" promotion in downtown Nashua this weekend.

It sounds like fun—nearly two dozen stores will offer refreshments and sale items this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, March 16-18. Welcome the season with everything from tarot readings at Ancient Moon to hand-crafted earrings at Amethyst Wyldfyre.

One of the more interesting attractions is at Fortin-Gage Ltd. (86 W. Pearl St.), where they're planning a "Byers' Choice Carolers Preview Event." Byers Choice is a highly regarded producer of decorative ceramic figurines famous for its Christmas carolers.

Here's an excerpt from the Great American Downtown press release: "Their Byers' rep Charles will be on hand Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with great tips on displaying and caring for
your carolers. He will also be able to perform minor repairs to any of your Carolers that need assistance."

Well, 'tis the season. As my mother says, nothing like getting an early start on Christmas, and I guess that includes repairing any figurines that didn't make it through the last one intact.

In the broadest sense, looking ahead is a prerequisite for the continued health of downtown Nashua. And that's especially true for Great American Downtown, the organization that coordinates promotions in the city's diverse downtown business community.

Events such as this weekend's promotion don't happen by themselves. They require organization and time and attention to detail—something of which most small business owners don't have a lot to spare. In the three years of its existence, Great American Downtown has emerged as a capable non-profit organization that fills a crucial need professionally and cost-effectively. Under the direction of Sarah DiSano and her predecessor John Mitterholzer, and backed by an involved board of directors, Great American Downtown has done a lot of good for Nashua.

Great American Downtown is also an important force in guiding the ongoing revitalization of the city's urban core. These efforts are not as immediately obvious to us as, say, the Holiday Stroll, but they're no less important. Recent developments, including the Riverwalk Promenade and the new condos off Canal Street, are happening in part because Great American Downtown keeps the city's momentum going.

Until now, Great American Downtown has relied on a mix of city, business, and institutional pledges over the past three years to cover its annual budget. This year, however, the municipal budget being squeezed, and the institutional climate is tougher than ever. And that's where you come in.

The way I see it, Great American Downtown serves more than just the business community. It serves everyone in the Nashua region who benefits from a vibrant downtown and all that this adds to a region's quality of life.

So if you care about downtown Nashua, consider a direct contribution to support Great American Downtown. It does a lot of good for us all, whether or not we happen to own a downtown business.

To make a tax-deductible contribution, call Great American Downtown at 883-7500, or visit www.greatamericandowntown.org.

And to find some great bargains from local stores you won't find in any mall, check out "Spring Trends" this weekend.


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