Stores on Franklin Street and Union Avenue are staying open until 9 p.m. every Friday as of Sept. 27.
"We wanted to be a little bit different," said Stephen Formwalt, owner of Simplicity Antique Boutique and Simply Art & Gift Gallery on Franklin Street.
Formwalt said he created a closed Facebook group last spring for Franklin Street merchants "to get together as a group and see what we could do to promote the Franklin shops because we are off the main thoroughfare."
They came up with a campaign called "Sip, Savor and Shop."
The idea was that when people dine out in downtown Havre de Grace, they're inclined to shop afterward, except that many stores aren't open late.
"You've got to be open," said George Wagner, who co-owns Bahoukas Antique Mall and Beer MuZeum with his wife, Barbara. Their store has been open for more than 15 years.
The Wagners helped promote the idea of staying open late among other shop owners. This week, Barbara Wagner held up a case in point. On Tuesday, she said that she and her husband noticed a couple looking in the windows after they had closed their store on North Union Avenue.
"George offered to open the store for them and they spent more than we made all day!" Barbara Wagner posted on the Bahoukas Facebook page. "Second day in a row where we doubled our sales by opening up after hours."
Over the summer, the Franklin Street and Union Avenue shops tried to stay open late on Thursdays in the "Sip, Savor and Shop" effort, but "it seems like Friday is a better time," Formwalt said.
This week, merchants are moving their stay-open-late night to Fridays and hoping for more shoppers.
On Friday, these participating stores will hold extended hours:
- Bahoukas Antique Mall and Beer MuZeum; 408 N. Union Ave.
- Flicker Scents; 331 N. Union Ave.
- Green Joy; 408 N. Union Ave.
- Just for Fun Collectibles; 464 Franklin St.
- Pink Hanger Consignment; 450 Franklin St.
- Simplicity Antique Boutique and Home Decor; 454 Franklin St.
- Simply Art & Gift Gallery; 456 Franklin St.
- The Painted Lady; 465 Franklin St.