Though the trees are still decorated with lights in Palmer Square and the wreaths and garland still hang festively on Nassau Street, the holiday season has come and gone.
But while the season of giving has ended, Princeton could continue to reap the benefits of an ever-increasing out-of-town component that, from most accounts, has produced a successful month for local enterprise.
While that success may be due to Princeton's status throughout the region, it could also be due in part to the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce's recent efforts to enhance Princeton's allure as a destination.
A Web site, www.HolidaysInPrinceton.com, can be linked from Amtrak's web site, in addition to a major ad campaign up and down the Northeast Corridor including New York's Penn Station and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. The campaign an initiative of the Chamber's Visitors and Conventions Bureau and "PAACC the House," the Princeton Area Arts and Cultural Consortium wooed prospective consumers with prizes that included a stay at the Nassau Inn.
"Our hope was to generate interest from people who live outside the area who tend to come to Princeton during the holidays to experience some of the special events that go on here," said Kristin Appelget, president of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"The banners and postcards that we sent out got people in town."
Though it's still a bit early to gauge the success of the campaign, the number of hits on the Web site and the initial feedback offer a positive indication of what business initiatives like this can generate in the future:"We had tremendous volume into our Web site, and from what I've heard, it was a great season in Princeton.
"My impression is that people had a better year this year than they did in the past."
Her assertion was echoed by shop owners in town."I think it's been busy," said Robert Atwood, who runs the used side of Micawber Books."With the weather that we had for the holidays, it definitely helped," he added, pointing to the balmy temperatures that made the street wreaths droop."The foot traffic coming into the store was outstanding," Mr. Atwood said.
Ms. Appelget said that while the weather could not be controlled, similar measures could be used throughout other times of year to bring more visitors to town."Hopefully we'll have a spring initiative around Communiversity," she said.
But there's not much time for rest: the Chamber is already getting prepared for that spring initiative, with the Princeton region featured in the January/February issue of Amtrak Arrives Magazine.
For Ms. Appelget, the artistic draw of the Chamber's Holidays In Princeton effort, while not yet quantified, has been an undoubted success: "It increases the visibility of the artistic community in the area, which, I believe, has a direct impact on people coming in to eat, shop, and spend money."
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