Community uses Christmas lights to combat economic devastation amid COVID-19 in Manayunk

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Businesses along Main Street in Manayunk have decked out their storefronts with holiday lights as part of the Manayunk Gets LIT decorating contest.

Shoppers vote for the best storefront and can win gift cards, while businesses have a chance to win $10,000 in prizes.

"This has been a really difficult year for everybody emotionally, financially, and particularly, small businesses in a town like this that survives on people coming in and out of their stores and buying things and eating," said Joan Denenberg of Manayunk Development Corporation. "We thought, 'let's take some of the money that we'd use to advertise and give it back to the businesses.'"

Brandy Deieso owns retail boutique The Little Apple and told Action News that she hopes people visit small businesses for their holiday shopping.

"This is our income. We love being a part of this community. We shop at other small businesses on the street," said Deieso. "It's not like a big box store. I literally pick out every single item you see, everything matters to me."

Each participating business can sign up for any of the six categories, including - Best Decorated Door, Best Decorated Window Display, Most "LIT," Most Original, Best Overall, and Most Spirited Block.

On Saturday, shoppers in Manayunk said they were impressed with the effort that stores put into the competition.

"I love them. I just pulled up and was shocked," said Charles Brooks of Roxborough. "This is really nice."

Many say they were impressed with the restaurant Taqueria, which had lights cascading down its walls and blinking lights indoors.

"We just wanted to be the brightest place," said General Manager Marty Rechenberg. "Be able to see us from outer space kind of."

The Manayunk Development Corporation hopes the competition will bring more foot traffic to Main Street and help businesses stay afloat.

Voting will take place until December 16, and the winners will be announced on December 17.

Members of the public can vote as many times as they want.
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