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Belmont's 'Black' Tuesday: Midnight Madness A Business Positive for Center Stores

Eat, drink and shop in Belmont Center.

Mollie Sloan (left) and Krissy Ktona help Jonathan Cabrera purchase sox at Champions Sporting Goods in Belmont Center.
Mollie Sloan (left) and Krissy Ktona help Jonathan Cabrera purchase sox at Champions Sporting Goods in Belmont Center.
It was cold Tuesday night, Dec. 10, but not enough to deter dedicated shoppers from near and far from partaking in Belmont Center's annual holiday tradition, Midnight Madness, a night of shopping from 6 p.m. until the clock strikes 12. 

Shop owners from both ends of Leonard Street provided discounts and savings as the night went on as well as providing customers pastries, cookies and some festive "holiday cheer" to help fortify them on their rounds.

By 9 p.m., groups of female friends, husbands and wives and even a few children tagging along entered clothing, toy, sporting, beer, wine and chocolate stores to select gifts for relatives, friends and, for many, for themselves.

For a growing number of stores, this special night out "has become quite a success financially bringing in customers who are busy on most weekdays," said Gerry Dickhaut, Belmont Center Business Association president and owner of Champions Sporting Goods.

The concept of a late-night shopathon in Belmont began a dozen years ago in Winchester when Deran Muckjian, a Belmont resident and the current owner of Belmont Toys, opened his toy store late for one night in an attempt to create some excitement and allow residents an opportunity to linger and take their time viewing his stock.

"And the community supported us then and they certainly do so in Belmont," said Muckjian as he pointed to the line of customers waiting to make their purchases.

Lisa Castagno, owner of Revolve, said many of her customers make "a night of the night" having dinner before browsing and shopping.

"We see a lot of local people but also the word has gotten out to people out-of-town so it's becoming a better mix," said Castagno, who owns consignment stores in Cushing Square, Lexington and Winchester. 

"And there is a nice spirit at Midnight Madness," she said. "All my sales staff wants to work this shift. Everyone is in a good mood."

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