Stores mix business and pleasure during Living Windows

Central Bank staff arrange cookies ahead of Friday night's Living Windows. A bank spokesperson said the bank had about 2,000 cookies on hand.

Downtown store owners told KRCG 13 ahead of Friday night's Living Windows the event is an opportunity to connect with the community.

On High Street, the I Love That Look Boutique was getting ready for its first Living Windows since opening in September. Owner Sonja Thompkins said she decided to make a splash by having a designer she knew from her days in St. Louis work in one of the store's windows. She said being located on High Street made it imperative that her business participate.

"You can't just be here and not have something going on with the amount of crowd and people that are coming in. It's a great way to promote the business," she said.

Thompkins said she kept here store open until 9 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. to take advantage of the late foot traffic.

Across the street, Downtown Book & Toy partnered with the Jefferson City Kennel Club, fencing off the area behind one of its windows for a couple dogs. Manager C.C. McClure said her store involved the club at the suggestion of one of its customers who was a member of the organization. She said Living Windows is a very big evening for shops like hers.

"You get people from all over your state who have never been in your store. It's the perfect opportunity to showcase your business," she said.

Not all the businesses in downtown Jefferson City continued transactions during the annual holiday event. Hawthorn and Central Banks closed like normal and hosted performances by the Helias High School Choir and the Heat of Missouri Sweet Adelines, respectively. Two hours before the festival began, Central Bank staff began setting out some 2,000 cookies provided by Jefferson City schools. Angela Nale, a PR coordinator working at the bank for Friday night's event, said all of those cookies are usually gone by 8:30. She said the line to get into the branch sometimes wraps around the building.

"I remember being little and not being able to actually come in here to see the musicians because the line was so long," she said.

Nale said her favorite part of the evening is getting to meet people she normally would not and seeing the joy on people's faces.