You might see Rudolph at Rockbrook Village this year. Or maybe Dasher, Dancer, Prancer or Vixen.
Not to mention The Grinch.
Omaha’s Rockbrook Village is hosting its annual Santa in the Village holiday event Nov. 30. Combined with Small Business Saturday, it may be the shopping center’s best yet — with live reindeer and The Grinch participating for the first time.
Returning are holiday favorites like free cookies, hot cocoa and carriage rides — not to mention Santa himself.
“The reindeer are an extra element of fun, and we’re very excited to have them with us this year,” says Andrea Carson, Rockbrook Village marketing director. “Between the holiday spirit in the air and our unique mix of locally owned merchants offering incredible holiday deals, it’s a great time to visit the Village.”
The Rockbrook Village slogan, “Home grown, locally owned,” has long been a successful approach to building community and sustaining a unique collection of businesses offering an array of products and services that can’t be found anywhere else in the metro area, Carson says.
The shopping center’s central location at 108th Street and West Center Road and small-town feel are pluses for merchants and consumers alike. Many Rockbrook Village retailers are planning special sales — the day after Black Friday — to celebrate Small Business Saturday and the holidays.
Sarah Spooner, owner of Four Sisters Boutique, says Small Business Saturday and Santa in the Village introduces her store to customers who might otherwise miss it. Nestled in the west end of the shopping center near the Garden Cafe, Four Sisters Boutique offers affordable, contemporary apparel and accessories, as well as Husker gear.
Spooner says her staff is brainstorming ways to celebrate the day, including giving out goodie bags to the first 100 people through the door.
“It’s a really cool experience for the people who come, and that’s why it’s so popular every single year,” she says. “The event also helps get the word out more about Rockbrook Village and about our store.”
Visitors can take a break from shopping and the festivities to dine at local favorites Pasta Amore, The Hunger Block and Jaipur, among others.
“It’s a wonderful day,” says Leo Fascianella, Pasta Amore’s owner and chef. “We are busy, but we are always busy. What I like best about it, though, is to see the young little kids and their families who come out together to see Santa. It’s a beautiful thing that is unusual these days.”
Santa in the Village and Small Business Saturday are scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. and will include a select group of local makers, artisans and small-batch food purveyors with pop-up shops throughout the Village. Look for the large, red “Pop-Up Shop” signs in front of participating stores.
Great Harvest Bread Company is looking for a vendor to team up with this year. In 2018, owner Marian Cihacek says, a mushroom and microgreen grower helped the restaurant make mushroom soup and special salads for the day.
“Whoever we get, we like to incorporate whatever they have in our shop,” she says. “It was really fun, and there’s nothing like cross-marketing with another small business. Everyone benefits that way.”