They’re Downtown for the Holidays

Olympia festival punctuates busy weekend of shopping at businesses large and small

Staff writerDecember 2, 2013 

The holiday spirit was undeterred by Sunday’s wet and windy weather as hundreds ventured to downtown Olympia to sit on Santa’s lap, ride on a horse-drawn covered wagon, drink hot cocoa, go shopping or watch a parade.

All of the above is what makes Downtown for the Holidays, an annual event organized by the Olympia Downtown Association that aims to get visitors into a festive mood as well as get them downtown to visit local merchants.

Downtown for the Holidays also caps a busy weekend of shopping, including Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Those who chose to head downtown also might have visited Encore Chocolate & Teas, a new retailer at 509 Washington St. SE that opened on Black Friday, co-owner Dean Jones said Sunday.

Jones is no stranger to the area, having previously run Four Seasons bookstore for 13 years, first in Tumwater and then downtown in the Carnegie Library building. His wife, Carla, and son Michael also are involved with the new business.

“I love retail, and I love people and the socializing,” Jones said about his desire to open the business.

Encore sells loose leaf and bagged teas, as well as chocolates from throughout the country, including a limited-edition chocolate bar co-produced by bad-boy chef and foodie Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain’s chocolate is called “Good & Evil.”

Jones said he plans to grow his inventory of chocolates to 50 from 18 and his teas to 150 from 100. If the business expands, he also envisions opening a tea bar.

Jones, too, hopes to capitalize on the growing popularity of tea, most recently exemplified by Starbucks’ $620 million acquisition of Atlanta-based Teavana.

There are also potential product offerings to The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, which is across the street, and a grand opening for Encore is set for January, he said.

Jeanne Carras, owner of the women’s shoe and accessories store Bonaventure, said she had a “killer weekend,” with better-than-expected Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales.

She thinks she benefited from those who wanted to avoid the Black Friday crowds, as well as the increased awareness and marketing effort about Small Business Saturday.

“Whatever we do today is gravy,” she said about her Sunday sales. Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

More photos online

For a gallery of photos of Sunday’s parade, go to

theolympian.com

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