Things are looking merry and bright as Community Futures Nicola Valley (CFNV) encourages local businesses to get in the holiday spirit by decorating their store fronts, while improving business opportunities at the same time.

Previously, CFNV announced their blade sign project, a follow up to tourism expert Roger Brooks’ recommendations for Merritt’s downtown core. The City of Merritt has waived the $50 sign permit until Dec. 31, 2020 and CFNV is contributing $150 for each business that installs a blade sign until that date, with the possibility of extending the deadline depending on the response.

“We are happy to inform you that it’s working very well, we have seen participation from different businesses and I’m sure that these numbers will increase,” said CFNV Business Development Officer, Manuel Olguin.

As the holiday season approaches, CFNV offered to pay the full cost of a blade sign for the first five businesses who ordered a blade sign and also put up a festive holiday display in their windows. The five businesses who took advantage of this offer were Breathe Bikes, Carrie Ware and Co., Black’s Pharmacy, The Lemonade Stand and Planet Hair.

In addition, CFNV is encouraging all businesses in town to participate in their ‘Winter Window Walk’.

“It’s for all the businesses in the valley, downtown and uptown,” explained Mae Ketter, CED Co-ordinator for CFNV.

“We’ll have some little elves that will go around and judge, around Dec. 14.”

There will three prizes available for the ‘best dressed’ windows. The first prize winner will have their business license for 2021 paid for, second place will win a $50 gift card to a local business of their choice and third place will win a $25 gift card for a local business of their choice.

“The other initiative is the Santa project,” said Olguin.

“When I heard about this project, I was very excited and was happy to participate. I have children and I know that we are in really difficult times with COVID and I wanted to participate in something that would spread the Christmas spirit in these difficult times.”

“The Santa project is through Experience Nicola Valley,” said Ketter.

“They are interviewing Santa and Mrs. Claus at the North Pole, with the elves working in the workshop. And Mrs. Claus has done a downtown tour of Merritt, she landed from the North Pole and visited some businesses.”

The interview with jolly old St. Nick and his missus will be broadcast on Dec. 10, and on Dec. 17 children of the Nicola Valley will have the opportunity to talk to Santa. In the meantime, children are encouraged to send letters, videos, questions, pictures or drawings to Santa at his special Merritt email:  [email protected]