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Elora benefactors want more downtown businesses lit up for Christmas

Don Kogen of the Kat Florence company said they will offer $1,000 towards Christmas lights to qualifying Downtown Elora businesses
The historic Dalby House in Downtown Elora was trimmed with Christmas lights in 2023. Kat Florence will be providing a grant to qualifying businesses to encourage more of Downtown Elora to be lit up for the holiday season 2024.

ELORA – We might be in the heart of the hot summer, but Kat Florence is already thinking about Christmas in July with a new grant program to encourage more Downtown Elora businesses to light it up during the holiday season.

After a successful first year of a beautification project that saw many buildings in Downtown Elora adorned with white LED Christmas lights put up by Gladiator Pro Wash, the Kat Florence company is offering a $1,000 grant to any other business or residence in a particular area of Downtown Elora to help with the cost of lights.

Kat Florence is an international jewelry design company owned by Elora-native Kristy Hillis that owns several historic buildings in Downtown Elora including: the Gorge Cinema, the Dalby House, the Metcalfe and the Elora Mews.

“We light up Elora regardless, we do our buildings and what we’re trying to do is get others to participate,” said Don Kogen, Hillis’ husband, in an interview. “What we were trying to do was basically give people an opportunity if they for example, worked with Gladiator last year or tried to get a quote out of Gladiator … and it might have been a little bit too much for them, we’re just basically offering a $1,000 grant.”

Last year the stretch of lights started at the bottom of the Metcalfe Street hill at the Badley restaurant and ended at the Dalby House at the top of the hill.

This year, Kogen said this grant will be offered to businesses on West Mill Street from Metcalfe Street to Price Street, East Mill Street from Metcalfe Street to Geddes Street, all of Metcalfe Street, and Geddes Street from the Shopper’s Drug Mart up to David Street. They aren’t putting a cap on the number of businesses or residences that will get the grant, as long as they are within the mentioned boundary.

“We’re trying to create that Christmas wonder,” Kogen said. “Lights can be expensive so how can we make it more palatable for them?”

He clarified there is no vested interest in Gladiator Pro Wash and they are remaining fairly hands-off of this process. Interested and qualifying businesses or residences are told to get in touch with Gladiator who will charge the respective parties.

Nick Preisenhammer, Gladiator Pro Wash owner, said in a phone interview he is understandably thrilled as a small business owner to potentially have more Christmas light clients but is also excited for what it will mean for the town.

“The amount of eyeballs it got last year, I’m sure we’ll get like double now just because all those holes will be filled and as you drive from downtown to uptown, it’ll just be a strip of all lit buildings,” Preisenhammer said. “It’ll be something people want to come to see.”

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Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for Livebidonline, covering Wellington County. Keegan has been working with Village Media for more than two years and helped launch Livebidonline in 2021.
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