Beginning Thursday, December 21, Downtown Maryville is encouraging all businesses in the downtown corridor to extend their hours to 7 pm on the Third Thursday of each month.

As it is the holiday season, the first Third Thursday will be Grinch-themed and highlight ways to shop downtown for last-minute gifts.

DeAnn Davison, executive director of Downtown Maryville, noted results from a recent community survey organized by Missouri Main Street Connection have shown that Maryville residents and the surrounding community are willing to shop downtown if more businesses were open after 5 pm. Downtown Maryville has been meeting with downtown business owners who have expressed a desire to adjust hours in order to accommodate shopping trends and drive more foot traffic.

The group provided ways for businesses to support third Thursdays:

• Adjust store hours until 7 pm.

• Create specials, discounts or other deals to bring customers into the business

• Host music, informational workshops or other special events

• Provide drinks or small bites to customers

• Share information from fellow businesses through flyers and word of mouth

• Advertise the event each month through a variety of sources: newspaper messages, banners, digital signage opportunities, flyers and digital media, etc.

“Downtown Maryville understands that not all businesses may be able to participate, but we hope that each business owner will consider ways to support the efforts to bring customers to the courthouse square and surrounding businesses,” said Davison. “We look forward to continuing to work with all businesses to identify ways to create a downtown that we can all be proud of!”