FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio - The people of Fairport Harbor believe their village is on the verge of a big economic resurgence, and they're hoping to light the way with some holiday spirit.
Neighborhood group "Discover Fairport Harbor" worked with both village and business leaders to brighten 20 vacant store fronts with Christmas decorations, hoping to shine a light on the numerous business opportunities the village has to offer.
Village Mayor Tim Manross told NewsChannel5 the effort has generated a lot of attention, and helped to warm the town of 3,100 residents with a little Christmas cheer.
"When Discover Fairport Harbor was formed, and they were looking for ideas, they came up with the window displays," explained Manross. "It was a phenomenal idea, and it really shows the community coming together."
Manross told 5 On Your Side the decorated vacant storefronts have already generate business leads, and he believes some of the vacant locations could have new tenants in them in 2014.
Discover Fairport Harbor Media Coordinator Raeann Hess explained social media has played a big role in attracting attention to the Lake Erie town. The Discover Fairport Harbor Facebook page has exploded with activity in the past week.
"Social media response has just been fantastic, we have jumped from 400 members to nearly 1,000 in a matter of 48 hours time," said Hess. "So that's just huge, the reach that we have now."
Fairport Harbor, situated right on the Lake Erie shoreline, boasts two lighthouses, and a wonderful beach. The village also has plenty of available retail space.
Lisa Moore decorated one of the vacant store fronts, and explained each one of the displays was used promote a local charity.
"When Discover Fairport Harbor said we are going to be a new force in town, let's bring together the charities, and they said why don't we open some of the empty store fronts, and have a charity show case what you're about," said Moore.
Fairport Harbor leaders believe the Christmas decorations are a step in the right direction.
"It is a great Christmas town. The perfect marriage is that we had everyone come together at the right time," said Hess. "We also have very strong leadership in the village as well as in the schools. So the timing is right, the synchronicity of everything is coming together."