Downtown retailers offer big deals

HOUSTON Downtown Houston retailers and merchants are aware of the recession and are very aware that they're going to have to compete for consumer's dollars.

Amanda Taylor has her hands full. She has 21 kids to watch, but equally challenging, she also has to watch her budget. Taking a field trip to downtown's Discovery Green saved some greenbacks for her Katy-area daycare.

"For the parents who have to pay for them to go somewhere, it's very expensive especially some families who have three or four kids. So we packed up the van and our coolers," said Taylor.

Coolers and pets are allowed at the park, an incentive to get people out of the suburbs and into downtown.

The incentives are elsewhere, too. The Astros organization admits price is a contributing factor to seeing empty seats at Minute Maid Park this season.

"The Astros are going to something we've never, ever done before," said Astros owner Drayton McLane.

Starting on June 23, at all home games one adult ticket purchase will result in the fan getting two free tickets for kids 14 and under.

You don't have to go far for the freebies to continue. House of Blues on Dallas Street is also making offers on Astros home game nights: buy an adult meal and a kid eats free.

"So we just do those little things that are incentives for our customers that make the experience better for them and gives them more value for their night out," said Brian DiStefano of the House of Blues.

Tough economic times mean downtown merchants are getting creative.

"Everyone is always looking at the customer. What does the customer want? What do they need. If you look at the restaurants, they don't want to lose their customers. They are offering happy hours, lunch specials, whatever it takes, which is fantastic," said Angie Bertinot of the Houston Downtown Management District.

If you're planning on a downtown excursion, you are encouraged to call or visit downtown retailers and ask them about any specials they might have.

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