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West End rolls out holiday goodies

| Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008, 12:00 p.m.

Business owners in the West End have a message for holiday shoppers:

We're here, and we're open for business.

To prove it, several shops and eateries in the West End's business district will host a "progressive brunch" today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., inviting shoppers to go from business to business, sampling food, drink and goods for sale.

"A lot of people don't realize what we have to offer down here," said Jackie Denham, a store clerk at European Treasures, which sells collectibles from around the world. "We want more people to know."

Today's event is the 6th annual progressive brunch. The goal always is to lure potential customers, but that's more important this year, business owners said.

With the economy flailing, many business owners say they have been hit particularly hard because construction on South Main Street, which carries Route 60, is driving business from the area. A section of the road -- in front of Artifacts, which sells antique furniture, art and Oriental rugs -- will remain closed through early 2009 while workers replace a bridge over Saw Mill Run.

"This construction is killing us," said Carol Carmichael, owner of Carol's Restaurant on Main Street. "We used to be booming, but I've gone from six employees to two."

Kelly Sue Carryer, owner of Sue's Cozy Corner Cafe on Main Street, said sales are down 40 percent since the road work began.

"We're struggling. It's been hard on all of us. But hopefully the brunch will help," Carryer said.

The progressive brunch starts with free mimosas at Muetzel Florist & Gift Shoppe on Wabash, and includes pastries, soup and other dishes during stops at Ceramiche Tile & Stone, the West Pittsburgh Partnership, Animal Advocates, plus European Treasures, Carol's and Sue's.

Last year the event drew nearly 200 people.

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