Shopping downtown during holidays helps community - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Shopping downtown during holidays helps community

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—Andrea Fisher always wanted to design her own clothes.  She went to school to become a fashion designer and pattern maker.

Her dream came true when she opened up her first boutique, in New York,13-years-ago.

She packed that dream, and the boutiques style, when she and her husband moved to La Crosse three years, and she opened Lark in downtown La Crosse.

She said Lark carries things you just can't get at the mall.

"I try to have an edited collection here," Fisher said. "Whether it's my clothing, the scarves or the jewelry from different local designers, so you don't have to come in spend an hour and a half peeling through the racks realizing you didn't find anything."

Since she makes her own clothes she can choose her fabrics.

"I make sure everything's high quality," Fisher said. "and everything mixes and matches so I try to create a really great wardrobe for people."

Fisher said a common misconception is it's more expensive to shop downtown; she said that's not necessarily true.

Fisher said smaller stores like Lark don't have as many sales because they don't charge a higher price originally, just to have a sale every week.

She said small businesses just can't compete with Black Friday price wars.

"I think people are beginning to realize if you're going to pay that price you're going to get what you pay for," Fisher said.

Another thing downtown offers is a sense of community and being family orientated.

"We have a unique environment," Tim Kabat, Downtown Main Street Executive Director said. "We have historic buildings, it's walk able, it's right adjacent to Mississippi River and Riverside Park. We have all of these features that those chain stores are trying to replicate."

Plus Kabat said many downtown businesses help out local charities.

"Give to food pantries, help out all of those types of things that make what it means to be a community. That's what we see downtown," Kabat said.

One family oriented event to look forward to downtown is Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

A historic trolley will be giving free rides downtown making it easier for people to hit up all the stores.

Also, to help put you in the holiday mood, the Rotary Lights Parade kicks off Friday, November 23, at 5:00 p.m. downtown. Followed by the lighting ceremony at Riverside Park.

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