Menino, Main Streets Light the Way for Residents to Shop Locally

Mayor Thomas Menino and City Councilor Sal LaMattina throw the switch to light the tree in Maverick Square.

It’s that time of year but instead of wracking your brain at a crowded mall trying to figure out what gift to get that special someone this Christmas, East Boston Main Streets and Mayor Thomas Menino are urging residents to spend their holiday dollars in the neighborhood.

It was the first time in his long career as Mayor that Thomas Menino chose East Boston to be the spotlight neighborhood for his annual Holidays on Main Streets campaign kickoff.

“I asked my staff if we had done East Boston yet and when the answer came back ‘no’ I was a bit shocked,” said Menino who holds his annual Trolley Tour in Eastie later in the Holiday Season. “So we decided this year the neighborhood would be the city’s choice to kick off this year’s shop locally for the holidays campaign.”

Menino joined hundreds of residents and business owners in Maverick Square last Tuesday with Christmas Carols and free food and drinks from places like Taco Mex that all culminated in the lighting of the Maverick Square Christmas Tree.

At the event, hosted by the city and East Boston Main Streets, Menino is challenged residents to do their shopping locally and support their neighborhood retailers.

“You can find great gifts at all the stores and restaurants from Maverick to Central Square,” said Menino.

At the event Menino also unveiled the first ever Boston Meter card, a re-loadable parking debit card designed to eliminate the need for coins at Boston’s 7,000 single-space meters.  As is tradition in Boston, the city will also offer two hours of free-metered parking in commercial districts on Friday and Saturdays from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

“I am issuing a special challenge to residents to visit their neighborhood business districts for holiday shopping this year,” said Menino.  “We want to remind shoppers that some of the most unique gifts and holiday experiences can be found in their own neighborhoods, without the mall traffic and the holiday lines. Holidays on Main Streets is about shopping locally, but also about bringing community together during this festive time of year.”

EBMS Director Clark Moulaison said the neighborhood’s business district has been underestimated or underappreciated for too long.

“If you want to do your holiday shopping in East Boston you can,” said Moulaison. “From clothing shops to jewelry stores to restaurants East Boston has a lot to offer for holiday shopping.”

To attract customers to Eastie Main Streets district EBMS and the Chamber of Commerce is again asking all Eastie businesses and organizations to help decorate the commercial districts for the holidays.

The Sixth Annual Holiday Window Contest will be judged by volunteer residents and business owners and will take place the week of December 5.

The top five selections will receive special recognition.