GLENDALE, AZ — There were few customers in restaurants and hardly any lines outside of shops in Downtown Glendale on Wednesday, but that will likely change over the next few weeks as the city kicks off its signature holiday event, Glendale Glitters.
That is the hope, anyway, for Denise Quintana, who owns Coyotes Oaties Cookie Shop, which is located across the street from Glendale's twinkling lights -- all 1.7 million of them.
“It’s forty-five nights of lights and shopping and dining for our community to enjoy, so it is vitally important,” she said.
For nearly four years, her cookies and coffee have been keeping customers warm and full.
Now, due to COVID-19, hand sanitizer greets every customer who walks through her front doors. She hopes that the pandemic does not keep families away from the yearly event, which will no doubt different compared to previous years.
“We really know that things will turn around. It’s a hard time right now, but we will get through this together," said Justin Piazza, owner of La Piazza Al Forno, in Glendale.
Piazza, who has been featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives a few times, was forced to make a tough economic decision this year and close two of his restaurants -- La Piazza in downtown Phoenix and La Piazza Romano in Avondale.
"We had to switch up the entire way we do things. We went to a new system. We went to online ordering. Lot of take-out," he said.
He is thankful that the City of Glendale is keeping the tradition of Glendale Glitters going, offering a way to give small businesses a potential economic lifetime when they need it most.
Glendale will flip the switch and turn its lights on Wednesday evening. While there will be no opening festivities this year, such as live music or a ceremony, officials have added 100,000 lights and some larger-than-life characters, including a giant reindeer.
You can find La Piazza Al Forno at 5803 W Glendale Ave. and Coyotes Oaties Cookie Shop at 7005 N 58th Ave.