Restaurant discounts, give-aways part of Bristol's Sunset Shopping event

BRISTOL - Believe In Bristol is set to hold its "Sunset Shopping" outing on Thursday night, as more than a dozen shops and restaurants kick off the spring season by staying open until 8:00 p.m.

Courtney Robinson works at Serendipity, one of 15 participating stores. She told us they're expecting more shoppers with the longer hours.

"People don't get out of work until 5:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. and they'll go eat supper and then with the sun being out, and it not being dark until later, people want to walk around State Street and shop," Robinson said. "I think it's a really good thing that places are open."

Robinson told us downtown businesses are working together to give State Street a boost in business.

"We're telling everybody about it," she said. "We're stamping everyone who shops here."

Those stamps, on your receipt, are good for discounts at downtown restaurants on any day you choose.

The stamps also put shoppers in the running for a free bag. The first 50 people to bring a valid, stamped receipt to the Believe in Bristol table will get a reusable shopping bag.

The Sunset Shopping event isn't the first time some businesses have tried longer hours.

"We had several retailers that opened independently and the business just wasn't there," said Christina Blevins, the executive director of Believe In Bristol.

Blevins told us they hope this group initiative will change that.

Megan Street, the manager at Phyl's, said it's a step in the right direction, even for businesses that already stay open late.

"The more stores that are open, it's going to attract more customers to come downtown," Street said.

Street said they're expecting a big boost in business, which is good for everyone who lives here.

Event organizers told us about 63 percent of all downtown sales come back to the community, which is 20 percent more than sales from big box stores.

The Sunset Shopping event is from 5:00 p.m. until  8:00 p.m.

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