Rock Paper Scissors Salon and Gallery took the top honor, while Empower Dance Studio finished second and Bull City Escape came in third.
It’s the first time DDI has held the contest.
“Downtown Durham is already known for all the great restaurants,” said special projects coordinator Rachel Wexler. “We wanted to show that we have strong retail in downtown, too. The holidays are a boon for all the businesses, and the contest was a way them to have a little fun with their windows.”
Rock Paper Scissors, 413 E. Chapel Hill St., decorated its window with Christmas elves flying around, a white tree and gold streamers.
One Facebook commenter said the display made her smile.
Empower Dance Studio, 109 W. Parrish St., used decals to dress its front windows. There were white and pink Christmas balls and stars along with a pink triangular tree.
Bull City Escape, 711 Iredell St., had a cardboard fireplace with stockings hung in its front window.
The contest, which had 25 entrants, ran Nov. 25-Jan. 1 with online voting. Rock Paper Scissors Salon got 76 votes, while Empower Dance Studio earned 65 votes and Bull City Escape pulled in 61 votes. DDI offered prizes of $350, $200 and $150 in advertising or marketing services to the winners.
“We were pretty excited with the number of businesses that took part,” Wexler said. “It can only get better from here. The response, especially on social media, was great.”