Holiday numbers up for Syracuse's 'Fashion District'

Holiday shoppers frequent Armory Square Fashion District

Downtown Syracuse businesses and their shoppers call an evening in downtown Syracuse an "experience." Now, businesses want that "experience" to be known as an evening in Syracuse's Armory Square "Fashion District."

It's a phrase Mr. Shop owner Joel Shapiro says he thought of back in 2009. He believes Syracuse's shops, restaurants and bars make up an experience people don't forget, and that it is only right that downtown needs to be called a "Fashion District."

"The reason why we have the Armory Square Fashion District is because of the fact that it's natural," Shapiro says. "It's natural for any downtown area to have one of the most vibrant parts of a downtown area to be a Fashion District."

Shoppers say they like the term, and believe it will help attract more people downtown. Even without the phrase, the downtown businesses are having an above average holiday shopping season. Several business are boasting higher sales than in previous years. Designer Warehouse says their sales are 30 percent ahead of this time last year.

A variety of factors are contributing to the kick in sales, including the warmer weather, recent buy local efforts and the Landmark Theatre bringing in Broadway shows Jersey Boys and Wicked.

"In particular what the Landmark Theatre did, and bringing 30,40, 50,000 people to downtown Syracuse, really added to this holiday season," Shapiro says.

Those factors, combined with the "experience" that businesses and shoppers speak of, are making downtown a holiday destination.

"When you talk about shopping downtown, you're really talking about a really specialized experience in an atmosphere that's really unique," Lisa Romeo of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, says. "You can see the lights on the trees, there's a place where you can grab a cup of coffee or cookie when you're walking around."