Howell has owned Somewhere in Time Antiques downtown for 18 years.
Girls Night Out was formed in March after Howell heard of a similar event in downtown Ringgold.
The first Thursday of every month, Howell, along with several other downtown businesses, including Art Things and Southern Things, The Craft Cottage, Certain Strokes Pottery, Sal’s Pizzeria, Christina Marie’s, Legacy Chiropractic and Larry Nix Photography, come together to provide free massages, food, games and discounts to women from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in different stores.
Howell hosted a hula-hoop contest in which the winner received a discount on merchandise in July.
“So many times people want to come downtown to shop, but we’re not usually open in the evenings,” Howell said.
In August, the merchants raised funds for Herschel Jones Middle School by asking participants in the Girls Night Out to bring school supplies with them.
Other charities benefiting from the event include Shepherd’s Rest Ministries, Helping Hands of Paulding County, Paulding Humane Society and Dallas Elementary School.
Helping Hands will be September’s charity, and those participating in the event, which will be hosted Sept. 6, are asked to bring canned goods for the nonprofit.
Howell said the downtown area is often overlooked.
“We kind of like to think Dallas is the best kept secret west of Atlanta,” she said.
Lyn Swenson, who has owned Art Things and Southern Things for 12 years, shares Howell’s sentiments.
“Dallas is like a secret,” she said. “We want to get more people down here.”
Howell said she wanted to grow the event and hopes other local businesses will join the event soon.
“We’re thinking about maybe making it kind of like a street fair,” she said. “We’ve thought about getting a couple of artists down here to set up in front of a couple of the stores. We’re still not sure exactly what direction we want to go in.”