Shop local for ‘Small Business Saturday’

By Martin Graham -

The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce invites the community to “Shop Small” for Small Business Saturday this weekend and continue to visit local businesses all next week.

In an effort to support local shops that make their communities strong, American Express launched “Small Business Saturday” in 2010 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop locally and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses. This effort has reached Fayette County this year thanks to Chamber of Commerce president Julie Bolender.

“Small Business Saturday was brought about by American Express and their desire to help folks keep their money in their own community,” Bolender said. “So we applied to be a ‘Neighborhood Champion’ and our application was approved. They have provided us with marketing materials, tips and tricks to get people to look around their community and see what the businesses have to offer. This helps keep their money at home where it does the most good.”

As part of Saturday’s celebration of local business, the Chamber of Commerce office — at 206 E. Court St. in Washington C.H. — will be open from 9 a.m. to noon. Free coffee, hot chocolate and donuts will be available. According to Bolender, everyone who visits the Chamber of Commerce office will receive a shopping map that lists all participating stores and a “Passport.” The first 30 who visit the office will also receive a free “Shop Small” canvas bag.

“This year we have 21 businesses that are participating,” Bolender said. “So we are going to do things a little differently. We are going to celebrate ‘Small Business Week’ as opposed to just one day. We are going to provide each person that wants to participate with a shopping passport. They can pick those up on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. The participants can then take those to the businesses and if they visit at least 10 by December 2 and receive a stamp on their passport, then they can return it to the Chamber office on December 3. Each business has given me a gift, and the restaurants have given us discount cards and gift cards to use. We are going to put those gifts into two big prize baskets and we will draw on December 3 for the two lucky winners of those prize baskets.”

This year the businesses involved include: Back-En-Thyme Flowers & Gifts, Fayette County Historical Society, Harry & Annie’s, Health Kneads Massage, Indigo Roots, Kirk’s Furniture, Lily Home & Garden, North Shore Primitives, Prime Meats & Deli, Robin’s Nest Flowers & Gifts, Serene Spaces, Showplace Furniture, Streetside 62, Summer Breeze Tanning, Sweetwater Bay Boutique, The Rusty Keg, The Willow, Trends Downtown on Court, Village Homestead, W&W Dry Cleaner/The Linen Closet and Watson’s.

“Without those local businesses there is nothing in our downtown areas in Fayette County for our community members to enjoy,” Bolender said. “We truly appreciate that they have gotten behind this and support the Chamber. Hopefully together we can make an even more vibrant holiday season for those around us. Fayette County businesses offer so many great things, we just appreciate what they do. We encourage the community to continue supporting local businesses.”

The information in this article was provided by Fayette County Chamber of Commerce President Julie Bolender.

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.

By Martin Graham