SHERIDAN — With five shopping days until Christmas, holiday gift selection is getting down to the wire. Last night, Sheridan businesses participated in (Wise) Men’s Night Out in an attempt to ease the atmosphere for last-minute male shoppers.
The men’s shopping night is an annual event sponsored by the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, and is largely unstructured. It’s up to individual businesses to do what they can to help their clientele be more comfortable picking out gifts.
Shopper Chuck Holloway admitted he’s not accustomed to leisurely browsing through merchandise.
“I’m not a big shopper,” he explained. “Usually, if I need something, I figure out which store I need to go into, go in and get it, and go home. Tonight is kind of a rambling night.”
Considering his initial apprehension, Holloway appeared to be catching on. He was flanked by three peers, all carrying shopping bags. He said annual men’s shopping night has been a pre-holiday tradition to him for years.
“Most of my Christmas shopping is done, so this is more of an excuse to see friends and pick up a few stocking stuffers,” he said. “It definitely encourages people to come downtown who, like myself, are usually adverse to shopping.”
Holloway indicated he uses the designated men’s shopping night to make a deliberate trip up and down Main Street, stopping at participating businesses that catch his attention.
Sheridan’s retailers were poised to help their not-so-usual clients feel comfortable. More than a few businesses took advantage of a temporary license to serve malt beverages while others laid out platters of Christmas cookies and hor d’oeuvres.
Riddle’s Jewelry Manager Melony Sanford said (Wise) Men’s Night Out is a big event in her shop.
“It really is a wonderful night for us because it gets men the opportunity to come out, relax a little bit and do their shopping and feel like they’re in good hands,” Sanford said. “We always have treats and goodies, so they can actually relax and have fun.
“We see a lot of traffic, typically on this night. It’s good for business and good to see people shopping local,” she added.
(Wise) Men’s Night Out doesn’t compare to the scale of the Christmas Stroll, but for a shopper wary of heavy crowds and flowery boutiques, it might prove to be a more accommodating experience.