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Small Business Saturday filled downtown with shoppers on Nov. 24. The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce helped encourage exploration of local shops through their Shop Small Passport event.

The passport was filled with 13 local small businesses and invited shoppers to visit each location in order to fill their paper with the required stamps.

"At each location, shoppers received a stamp representing the business," Laura Raymer, director of events and program marketing for the chamber said. "When the Passport was completely full it was turned in at the Farmington Regional Chamber office to be entered into a drawing for prize package valued at over $400 with items from our participating businesses."

While the chamber did have this event last year Raymer said they "upped" their game this year to include the prize package and additional promotions.

Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express as a way to encourage people to shop small the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Raymer said the passport promotion was an idea of American Express and created a way for shoppers to explore more shops which they may not have known about before.

"The Farmington region continues to be a hub for retail and more merchants are taking notice," Raymer said. "With several different areas, it's exciting to see more stores opening up throughout our community."

Raymer said merchants who participated in their Shop Small Passport event were Bound Society, Country Junction Primitives, Dress 2 Impress Resale Boutique, Krekeler Jewelers, Laura Belle Boutique, Massage & Skin Works, Norwex with Buffie Reever, Ophelia's, Plummer's ACE Hardware, Previously Loved Antiques & Gifts, The Copper Lantern, The Oasis Christian Bookstore and White Weddings. 

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of any community," Raymer said. "In many cases, they are the primary source of attraction for downtown areas like ours.  Small business owners don't have the budgets and tremendous resources of the bigger box-type stores so they have to work even harder to provide variety and competition in a community. Quite often, it's the small business owners who are supporting local youth athletics, fundraisers and events within the community and to continue that support, they need our shopping dollars, too."

Raymer said many of the merchants host online stores for their products and, while it is convenient, she prefers going to the stores.

"There's something about walking into a shop, the delightful smells, the hustle and bustle, the fantastic customer service, these are things you can't get from online shopping," Raymer said. "Plummer's ACE Hardware is a great example of customer service. You are greeted as soon as you walk in and the staff is there to help answer questions and find exactly what you need. Not only do you save on shipping, you save on headaches, too."

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Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Farmington Press. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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