For Businesses, A Time To Shine
Holiday Home Tour Expanded To Include Downtown Lofts, Companies
Posted: December 3, 2012
HARRISONBURG — Not expecting to see much traffic for the downtown holiday tour, Matt Robertson brought some things to work on at his office Sunday afternoon.
“I thought I’d be sitting on my hands all day,” said the president and chief executive officer of The Stratford Companies, a custom homebuilder.
Instead, Robertson was pleasantly surprised to learn that dozens of people were willing to make the hike up four flights of stairs to his office at 61 S. Main St., just south of Court Square.
This year was the first that Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance included lofts and businesses in its annual tour, formerly known as the Downtown Holiday Home Tour.
The tour is a fundraiser for HDR, a revitalization group, and included stops at historic homes, as is tradition, as well as at the Urban Exchange apartment and retail complex and the Houck building, where Stratford’s company is located.
For businesses that don’t normally hold public events, it provided an opportunity to bring people in and show off what they do.
“It was absolutely hands-down worth it,” Robertson said.
Tourgoers felt the same sentiment as they made their way into buildings they’ve walked past many times before, curious about what’s inside, but never set foot in.
“The only time people come up here is if they’re looking for an architect … or if they’re lost,” said Jan Trettner, whose husband, Eugene Stoltzfus, runs an architecture firm bearing his name at the Houck building on the floor below Stratford’s office.
Stoltzfus said visitors were exposed to what can happen when an older building is brought into the 21st century.
“It was a tremendous success,” he said. “Not only did a lot of people show up, but they spent time in here.”
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