DOUGLAS — A group of local merchants got together and hosted a downtown event Friday trying to encourage local residents to get out and shop.

The event included sidewalk sales, music, food and vehicles from the Vejitos Car Club of Pirtleville.

Zheyla Baltierrez, owner of Vestirsi bene on G Avenue, said she has been wanting to do something for a while hoping to get word out to the local residents there are businesses downtown that need their support.

“We have a lot to offer and can provide some really good deals if given the opportunity,” she said.

Some of the items Vestirsi bene had on sale were marked 50% off.

“The stores in this block between Ninth and Eighth Street all agreed to stay open until 8 p.m. hoping it will encourage people to come down and shop,” she said. “We decided to do this on a Friday night so people would have something to do downtown.”

Baltierrez said she has been communicating with Ida Pedrego, who owns Illusions Boutique and is also president of the Douglas Merchants Association. Together they came up with this idea.

“We want people to know that Douglas is not dying,” Pedrego said. “There are people interested in trying to promote Douglas. We would sure like their support by coming down and shopping, checking to see the different services and products each of these businesses provide.”

Pedrego said she really appreciated the Vejitos Car Club for showing off their cars and supporting the event along with Nan’s Lunch Box, which had a food truck set up. The Figueroa family provided the music.

“This is a community effort,” she said. “We’re all here supporting each other.”

Baltierrez and Pedrego state they plan on having more of these types of events throughout the summer.

“We want to do something on a Saturday where we can have raffles, live entertainment, make it something people will want to attend,” Baltierrez said.

“Douglas is not dying” Pedrego reiterated. “Douglas needs more shops. We want people to familiarize themselves with what’s available and know that all these merchants here, they invest not just their time but their money to provide these shops for the community. But we need to support our local merchants.”