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      Armory Square has a great Christmas shopping season

      Armory Square merchants are already making plans for next year's Christmas shopping season, after seeing what could be their best year ever.

      Joel Shapiro, owner of Mr. Shop, Jet Black and Bounce, says more people have been shopping in Armory Square instead of the malls, because "they get tired of the same old thing." Shapiro says that one of the things the merchants kept hearing is that Syracuse's shopping district offered something special, including unique merchandise.

      The addition of big name stores, including Urban Outfitters, gave the area a boost. So did more large businesses relocating, including O'Brien and Gere, which moved in from the eastern suburbs, and King and King Architects, which came in from Manlius.

      Lisa Loftus, who works at King and King, says the closeness of the unique stores made holiday shopping much more fun.

      Shapiro says that besides the influx of new workers, many of them also brought friends and family to Armory Square to see where they work, eat and shop. "Anytime you get people comfortable with an area," says Shapiro, "they share that, and it's huge for us."

      Shapiro says the holiday shopping also benefits from out of towners. "When visitors come into Syracuse, they see four things," he says: "Wegmans, the Carrier Dome, Carousel, and Armory Square."

      He says the season has really inspired him. He leaves in a couple weeks to start buying for next Christmas, and making plans for what they can do next year.

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