For Immediate Release

Contact: Erin Pihlaja 518.779.3451

Downtown Troy, NY is a “Mall-Ternative”

Business District Back With a Boom (Literally)

Shopkeepers Turn on “The Green Light District”

TROY, NY (11/12/14) — Downtown Troy will kick off its “Mall-ternative” holiday shopping campaign tomorrow (Nov. 13) at noon with a ceremonial cannon blast* at Monument Square.

“If you look at all that’s going on downtown, why would you go to a shopping mall?” said Erin Pihlaja, executive director of the Downtown Troy Business District. “We’re not trying to emulate Crossgates. We are an alternative to the mall.”

The Mall-ternative campaign is an initiative of the Downtown Troy BID, with funding from I Love NY and support from Rensselaer County Tourism and the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market. Its advertisements feature a floor plan of the upper and lower levels of an “average local mall” superimposed over a map of downtown Troy. Visually, the graphic shows downtown Troy is roughly the same size, with equivalent parking and amenities.

Mall-Ternative Graphic

The graphic also lists a number of upcoming downtown holiday events, including:

Nov. 13 – Start of Extended Holiday Hours Downtown
Nov. 15 – Mall-ternative Artisans Market in the Atrium
Nov. 27 – The Troy Turkey Trot
Nov. 28 – Troy Night Out “Green Light District
Nov. 29 – Small Business Saturday
Dec. 4 – 7 – 58th Annual Green Show
Dec 7 – Victorian Stroll

Historic Flag Hoist & Cannon Blast Ceremony, Noon Nov. 13

This Thursday, Nov. 13, will be the first night that many downtown stores will hold extended evening hours to accommodate holiday shoppers on Thursday and Friday evenings, as well as during the days on Saturday and Sunday.

A special 12 p.m. ceremony at Monument Square will kick off the new downtown store hours, and will feature a flagpole hoisting of an “OPEN” flag, a symbolic cannon “blast” and the ringing of an historic bell.

The noon gathering revives an old Troy custom, which was discovered by organizers researching primary source materials. In his personal writings of life in Troy during the 1800s, historical figure Nathan Dauchy recounts:

“Washington Park where the monument now stands the center of it was enclosed with an Iron Fence. Charles L. Richards had charge of it. When the First Steamboat in the spring came to dock, he hoisted the Flag and fired a cannon to let the people know the river was open.”

Old Cannon at Monument Square

Note: Before erecting the monument, Monument Square was known as “Washington Square” and before that “Cannon Square.” The first building erected on the square is still known to this day as “Cannon Place.” Photo, showing the old cannon, from the collection of Tom Flynn.

* More specific details about the cannon blast ceremony will be announced via media advisory tomorrow morning (or later today). For questions concerning that aspect of this release, contact Duncan Crary 518-274-2723

Troy is Now a Destination

One local shopkeeper is leading the effort to make the extended holiday hours a permanent feature in downtown Troy.

“I get a lot of visitors at my store who travel specifically to Troy after reading about all the exciting things happening here. We are really becoming a destination,” said Debra Lockrow, owner of Artcentric Gallery at 266 River Street. “But they get here and tell me ‘Nothing’s open,’ because they’re arriving on weekends or after normal 9 to 5 work hours.”

Lockrow recently announced new 7-day per week store hours at her own Artcentric Gallery, including Thursday and Friday 12 p.m to 7 p.m. hours. She is asking others shopkeepers to join her in offering permanent hours that can better accommodate the needs of customers who typically work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I’m not asking stores to keep longer hours,” said Lockrow. “I’m asking them to keep smarter hours.”

In the past, efforts to keep downtown shops open later haven’t kept up the momentum after the busy holiday season, but Lockrow thinks this time will be different.

“The new shopkeepers get it: they need to be open when people get out of work and want to shop,” she said. “It’s a matter of getting everyone on board at the same time.”

Earlier this year, Lockrow already took the initiative to personally design, print and distribute a tri-fold “Enjoy Troy Sundays” brochure listing all the restaurants and shops that are already open on Sunday. She plans to reprint an expanded edition soon with more participating businesses and hours listings.

TNO Launch Friday Nov. 28

The Mall-Ternative campaign is also calling for Troy shopkeepers to display green decorative light bulbs this Troy Night Out, Nov. 28, to signify they will be keeping later hours. Organizers call it “The Green Light District,” in another playful nod to Troy’s colorful history. (Troy’s “Famous Red Light District” was allegedly known “Coast to Coast” until it was shut down in the 1940s.)

“I think Troy’s Green Light District could be even more famous,” Pihlaja said. “But in order to be a shopping destination, people have to know we’ll be open for business when they arrive. Green means we’re ‘good to go.'”


Enjoy Troy Totes for Small Business SaturdayThe Troy Mall-ternative campaign will also be participating in the American Express Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29, a national effort to encourage Americans to shop local.

Those who purchase special reusable shopping tote bags, with the “enjoy troy.” symbol, will receive discounts at participating downtown retailers during the day. Details to be announced.


To download a copy of the Mall-Ternative graphics, photos of “enjoy troy.” tote bags, and an historic photo of the cannon in “Washington Square”, visit:


For information, visit


Erin Pihlaja 518.779.3451

Debra Lockrow 518-691-0007


This press release was prepared and issued for the Downtown Troy BID by Duncan Crary Communications.