Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 18, 2012

Shoppers, vendors take part in Christmas Shopping Extravaganza

BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — The streets in downtown Bluefield were alive with activity Saturday as the Historic Bank Lobby on Federal Street threw open its doors to host the third annual Christmas Shopping Extravaganza, bringing about 20 vendors into the former Commercial Bank building, along with scores of shoppers.

“People were already lined up out on the sidewalk when we opened at 11 a.m., this morning,” Jay Disibbio, owner of the Commercial Bank building said. “It was really busy during that initial rush, and it’s picking up again now.”

Thanks to cooperation from the city, Disibbio’s parking concerns vanished and vendors and shoppers alike had easy access to the Historic Bank Lobby even with the current parking challenges in the downtown.

Jay and Kathy Disibbio opened the building for the initial Christmas Shopping Extravaganza in 2010 to introduce the (then) newly renovated building to the community. Their preservation efforts breathed new life into a stately building in the heart of downtown Bluefield that had been empty for several years before the Disibbios tackled renovation project.

“That is exactly what we’re trying to do with the Bluefield Preservation Society,” Doris Sue Kantor said. “We want to save as many of these beautiful buildings as we can before they’re all gone. It took us a year to get approved as a 501 (c) 3 organization, so now, we’re doing fund raising here selling products like Bluefield Blueberry jam and other products. We also plan to start going after grants.”

Skip Crane that the preservation society hopes to attract small businesses in the arts, crafts and music into the historic downtown with the intention creating a small business community along the lines of Asheville, N.C. “We want to do something to save the downtown,” he said.

Kayla Kennedy was helping her grandmother sell items at her booth, “Celebrating Home.”

“We have sold some things today,” Kayla Kennedy said. “This is the first time that I’ve been here. It’s been pretty steady.”

Vendors displayed products including Sabika jewelry, monogrammed purses and travel items by Thirty One, hanbags from Initials, Scentsy candles and air freshners and more. Several local community service agencies also maintained booths at the extravaganza.

Erik Robinson had a luncheon speaking engagement in Tazewell, Va., but stopped off to do a little shopping and visit with friends. “This is a good thing for Bluefield,” Robinson said.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com