By Sarah Anderson | photography by Two Eagles Marcus
For one night a year, the entire Uptown district lights up and opens its arms to hundreds of individuals who come from near and far for what many deem as the “best night of the year.” Welcome to Uptown Shop Hop.
What began as one store’s holiday open house has turned into a one-night community extravaganza where presents are purchased, acquaintances become friends and memories are made to last a lifetime. Each store in the Uptown District, which includes four neighborhoods ( East Fulton, East Hills, Eastown, and Wealthy Street), offers customers the chance to come together to celebrate local community and business. Some have specials and some have special treats. Some have live entertainment in-store while others enjoy the carolers walking the streets. No two businesses are the same, and you’ll never know what you’ll find behind each door during Shop Hop.
Susan Walborn, owner of YT Galleria on Cherry Street was one of the first store owners to hop on board when Shop Hop was originally being conceived 21 years ago. Walborn recognizes that this night was about much more than
“The idea is one of nostalgia,” she described as she reminisced the times when Christmas shopping meant crowds of people going from door-to-door in their local shopping district with each store decorated with their finest holiday decor. “People want to talk to people. A lot of it has to do with relating that sense of community back to
Shop Hop has grown since its first event in the early 2000s. Now, the trolley that used to carry passengers from one shopping street to the next is a shuttle provided by The Rapid.
Streets and stores alike are packed and more than 150 businesses participate, keeping their doors open until 10 p.m.
Warlborn added, “The other thing that is so wonderful about it — with society and the personal car and electronics we have become so isolated — when everyone parks their car and gets on a crowded bus, you break down those barriers and start to get to know people. That’s the great thing about Shop Hop, you have to literally rub shoulders with people. You are in the midst of it. And every single shop that you go into is owned by a person.”
Walborn is used to seeing some familiar faces each year as many groups have made this event a holiday tradition. There’s always quite a few new faces, too, as people venture out to experience Shop Hop for the first time.
What: Uptown Holiday Shop Hop
Where: Uptown business districts East Fulton, East Hills, Eastown and Wealthy Street. Shop Hop HUB located at Fulton Street Farmers Market, 1147 East Fulton St. Map available at Uptowngr.com.
When: Thursday, Dec.6, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.