Some sizzle for your steak?

The holiday season is approaching, but with the economy in the doldrums, experts predict a slump in shopping and entertaining as consumers scale back.

While frugality may be good, even noble, the season is the bread and butter for retailers and a vital part of the year for restaurants as well. To that end, the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, with an assist from the Asheville Downtown Association, the city and others parties, has a plan to entice more people to venture downtown and open their wallets, which is not only good for local businesses but the local economy as well.

Called “Experience the Sizzle,” the campaign will feature various special customer deals in downtown shops and restaurants the first 21 days of December. And each Saturday (Dec. 6, 13 and 20), those downtown will be treated to fireworks displays over the city through the efforts of the Grove Park Inn and Spa, which has donated $40,000 for the “Seasonal Sizzle at Seven” shows, kicking off each Saturday at 7 p.m.

Participating AIR restaurants will offer “Sizzle Specials” on the same Saturdays as the 7 p.m. fireworks. These specials will be created for the holidays and keep value for the customers in mind, according to AIR Executive Director Roya June. The campaign will also include “Appy Hour” on the first three Thursdays in December (Dec. 4, 11 and 18) from 5 to 7 p.m. with value-priced appetizers.

“We’re basically doing this to keep the downtown alive during the December season,” June says. “It’s like a big vitamin pill for downtown … and also a way to encourage people to come out to eat.”

But the campaign is aiming to do more that just boost commerce. It being the holidays, the campaign also has a serious charitable side as well. AIR is working with MANNA FoodBank to develop the charity side of the campaign, asking citizens of the greater Asheville area to support the food drive by donating cans of food to the MANNA van and the AIR booth when they come to enjoy the fireworks. And while any foodstuffs are welcome, June says MANNA needs tuna, peanut butter, dried beans and meals in a can (stew or chili). AIR will then match the number of cans donated to MANNA.

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7 thoughts on “Some sizzle for your steak?

  1. Dionysis

    Unless there is some way to provide for available and affordable parking downtown (something which frequently prevents many from venturing into downtown) this initiative may not be too successful.

  2. Trey

    This city is hilarious…. half the people do everything they can to keep the people with money out(i.e. no condos, no parking decks, save the tree, etc., ad nasuem)….. the other half try to figure out how to get them to come downtown and spend their money.

    I know fireworks always make me want to spend money. (rolls eyes)

  3. There is PLENTY of parking downtown. It’s just that we lazy Americans refuse to walk an extra block or two.

  4. Ashkat

    I ALWAYS find parking downtown. I ALWAYS find a seat on the bus to downtown. Sometimes I walk all the way from home to downtown just for the fun of it. I drove to Woolworth yesterday to find a quick gift for a sick neighbor. I parked right in front of Woolworth. I bought Elizabeth Henderson’s “Coloring Book for All Ages”. This is many pages of exquisite original drawings for $10.

  5. Gordon Smith

    Dionysis. Park just outside of downtown and have a stroll. Alternately, park in the River District, have a pint at the Wedge, then take an Ecotrips cab into town.

    There’s a lot of parking downtown. There’s not a parking space for every person, but there are a lot of spaces. I’ve got two or three sneaky spots that let me get close most anytime, but it’s also nice to walk or catch a ride…

  6. West Asheville

    If you can’t find a spot downtown to park then you either don’t go town very often or your are extremely lazy. I’ve never had a problem finding spots to park even during Belle Chere. You might have to walk a few blocks, but big deal, the city is only a few blocks anyway.

  7. Dionysis

    “If you can’t find a spot downtown to park then you either don’t go town very often or your are extremely lazy”

    I don’t go into town all that often (perhaps once a week, on weekends); I also have a physical condition that makes walking any distance very uncomfortable. It has nothing to do with being lazy. I’d be happy to walk several blocks otherwise.

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