Many merchants hold sales, and Hoboken shop owners are hopeful that Washington Street will be packed starting Friday.
"This is a critical time of year for businesses up and down Washington Street," said Chamber of Commerce President Brian Battaglia, the owner of Battaglia's Home Furnishings. "The next five weekends can make or break many of our merchants' year."
In Hoboken, a city that is already parking-starved, bigger crowds and more people could bring even more parking headaches. But fear not - the city and chamber will offer a free shuttle bus to assist shoppers and residents in patronizing the city's main retail district without using their cars. The program will utilize one of the city's buses, with the city paying for gas and maintenance and the Chamber of Commerce paying for the driver.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, the bus will follow a continuous route beginning at Second and Washington streets, heading north to 14th Street. From 14th Street, it will turn left onto Willow Avenue and ride down to 11th Street.
From 11th Street, the bus will turn back onto Washington Street, ride down to Third Street, and turn left toward Hudson Street, where it will finally turn right to the public parking garages, completing a 20-minute route. The bus will stop at designated points and run Saturdays and Sundays through Christmas, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Hoboken Chamber of Commerce and the municipal government also are sponsoring free parking at the Hoboken Parking Authority's Garage B, located on Second Street between Hudson and River streets. Those wishing to take advantage of the service can receive parking validation from most of the Chamber of Commerce's member stores and several other local businesses.
The offer is available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays starting Saturday, Nov. 27, and will run through the last weekend before Christmas.
"We're going to do everything we can to alleviate some of the parking problems," said Battaglia.