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Downtown Benton hosts Christmas open house | News

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Downtown Benton hosts Christmas open house

BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - For those who don't get to take a lunch break every day, you may feel like you're missing out on some of those popular spots as well as other businesses that aren't open after dark.

On Tuesday night, the residents of Benton with 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs got a unique chance to visit local shops that they might normally miss.

"We are thrilled to death to do it. I love the concept. It's great for downtown," said Robin Bray of Gingles Department Store. Benton business owners told THV11 that they couldn't believe the crowds in their shops Tuesday for the Historic Downtown Benton Christmas Open House. "We were hoping for a great turn out, so far it has exceeded our expectations," added Bray.

It was the first time 22 downtown Benton businesses stayed open after hours to give more people an opportunity to see what downtown Benton has to offer.

"I know that for years people got drawn to the bigger and bigger stores, but now I think they're swinging the other way. They want to come downtown," Bray said.

Restaurants like Burger Shack, that are only open for lunch, served dinner on Tuesday night. Boutiques stayed open long past their normal 5 p.m. close. The Royal Theatre served refreshments as part of the open house, Manager Shannon Moss said he wouldn't miss it.

"Downtown is really very important to us. The Royal Theatre has been open for 95 years. We want to be a participant and not a bystander. We want to support downtown Benton and all the endeavors."

Back at Gingles, Robin Bray says she hopes the draw to downtown lasts more than just a day.

"What we really hope is that if this goes well, everyone will want to do it again next year, and the next year will be even bigger."

The business owners we spoke to say they'd like to see these open houses continue throughout the year.