BY SHERI TRUSTY
When Debbie Coppeler opened her downtown shop Unique for the 7th annual Port Clinton Sip & Shop on Saturday, Nov. 19, customers were already waiting at her door.
“All I can say is fabulous. It’s so nice to see all the people walking around town, carrying packages,” Coppeler said. “I’m so excited. Port Clinton’s really coming along.”
That afternoon, Jenny Gremling of Crestline and Marblehead and her friend, Tressi Wicker of Lima and Marblehead stopped at Unique during the Sip & Shop.
“I read about Sip & Shop in The Beacon and decided to come to town,” Gremling said. “I bought soap and cigars here at Unique.”
Down the street, a group of Port Clinton friends were sipping wine and shopping for clothes and gifts at Lakelynn Design Boutique. Two of them, Rachel Johnson and Andrea Cochran have been coming to Sip & Shop since its inception.
“It’s just a great time. We like seeing our friends,” Johnson said.
For some of them, it’s the only time they connect.
“It’s fun running into people we don’t see often,” Cochran said. “We see people we only see at Sip & Shop.”
This year’s Sip & Shop was bigger than ever. Organizer Kelly Rigoni, who owns Gully’s Lake Wear and Northern Exposure with her husband, Billy Rigoni, said the event has expanded outside the downtown area.
“This year, Sip & Shop extended from Mr. Ed’s all the way uptown to the Port Clinton Plaza,” Kelly said. “It is working fabulously. Everyone is loving it. We’ve been super busy today.”
For the first time, transportation was provided throughout the Sip & Shop area by Swig Ohio Shuttles. The shuttles helped connect shoppers to downtown and uptown businesses, including vendor shows at Ala Carte After Hours and Knights of Columbus. Kelly created maps to help shoppers find all the shops.
“We wanted to make sure everyone could get around,” Kelly said.
Customers who purchased at least $5 in food, drinks and/or merchandise at seven different businesses were entered into a raffle drawing, and they could earn more raffle tickets by spending more money. Prizes included a gift card bundle and a gift basket filled with about $1,500 in merchandise from Port Clinton businesses.
“The Grand Prize basket is so heavy I couldn’t lift it,” Kelly said. “I had to get a wagon.”