Vista Lights "brightens up" Columbia small businesses - DatelineCarolina

Vista Lights "brightens up" Columbia small businesses

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A group of dancers performed to entertain Vista Lights guests. A group of dancers performed to entertain Vista Lights guests.
Small business owner Loretta Neal believes in the importance of shopping local. Small business owner Loretta Neal believes in the importance of shopping local.
Two Vista Lights guests enjoy shopping at some new local stores they never knew about. Two Vista Lights guests enjoy shopping at some new local stores they never knew about.

By: Karamie Sullivan

The Vista in downtown Columbia was decked out in lights as the annual "Vista Lights" celebration kicked off Thursday night.  The suspense grew as the crowd counted down before the Gervais Street Holiday tree lights were turned on for the season.  There were dancers, instrumentalists, and Disney Princesses who all provided entertainment for the crowds.  This is an important time of year for every retailer, but especially small businesses. 

Stores like Double Take on Lady Street offered special prices to bring in event-goers.  Store owner Loretta Neal is excited that this event gave potential customers an introduction to her boutique.

"It's so critical for people to shop local.  As a small business owner, we contribute a lot to the economy here in our state.  Shop with us.  Shop local, shop small," said Neal. 

Hayley Loughlin was one of the shoppers who enjoyed finding new stores to explore.

"Yeah it seems great so far... wine, shopping... I just bought myself a new dress.  It gets awareness out for the smaller companies you wouldn't know about.  I didn't know about this store and now I will come back," said Loughlin. 

The huge crowd that came out to participate in Vista Lights was a great way to start off the holiday season for small businesses in Columbia.

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