“We’re 1,000 square feet,” Hochheiser said of his shop. “We work in the front of the store and we have a door at the rear which is about 40 feet back and sometimes we can’t see the door, there are so many people in here. A lot of people come in and even if they don’t buy that night, they may see things that they come back for the next day or the next few days.”
A Christmas-themed shop itself, Partridge in a Bear Tree and the Candle Shoppe has been serving a champagne punch during Invitation Nights for the past 13 years, and they often has a line going out the door of its Market Square location, according to owner Kevin Riley.
“I’d say we serve over 1,000 cups of punch,” he said. “And that’s just the people we serve. I say we see 1,200-plus people (each night). My primary merchandise during the Christmas season is Christmas and candles, those are the roots of our business. There are not many stores that do Christmas all year-round so we make sure we do it right at Christmas time.”
And Invitation Nights continue to grow each year.
“Over the last few years, it has gotten even more festive,” Gronbeck said. “We’ve had some carolers outside from different churches and organizations. We’ve had carolers from the Boy Scouts in front of our shop and we’ve had choral groups. It’s really a nice, festive welcome to Christmas, welcome to the holidays and the merchants have a great time doing it.”
Even though Invitation Nights are a much-anticipated event in the Greater Newburyport area, Ormond has kept busy of late, making sure the word gets out as much as it can.
“We want to keep it top-of-the-line,” said Ormond. “People have a lot of choices of places to go to and we want them to pick Newburyport. We don’t take it for granted. We want people to know that we are a cultural and shopping destination.”