For many people, Christmas Eve meant some last-minute shopping, but not everyone who ventured out to a store had to fight traffic and jam-packed shopping centers.
For Tanya Dickinson, last-minute shopping was a little more relaxed because she headed to downtown Fayetteville.
"I had a few last minute things to get, and I knew here would probably be the best place," Dickinson said after checking three things off her list in Holmes Fine Gifts on Hay Street. "Here I could at least beat the crowd and kind of get in and out and beat the crowd, and I did."
She certainly was not alone. Louise Godwin saw plenty of customers, and while she understands many people may head to the mall to stop at as many stores as possible, it was still busy downtown.
"We had people waiting when we opened up the doors – last minute shoppers," Godwin said.
Some shoppers said they did go to the mall before downtown, but others knew they would find exactly what they wanted along or near Hay street.
Just the fact that some shoppers are considering downtown more often is a sign to Godwin that the area is moving in the right direction.
"We've had several customers say, ‘I don't want to go to the madness of the mall. I want to come to downtown to just be able to walk,'" Godwin said. "So I think there might be a return to some of that for people."
Even with the progress, some store owners say there is still plenty of room for growth. They would like to see a broader mix of stores and restaurants that would attract even more people downtown.
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.More>>