With only five more Saturdays left to find the perfect Christmas gift, the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce is hoping shoppers will join them and support local businesses this season.
To help promote this idea, the chamber - along with American Express - is championing “Small Business Saturday” this weekend in hopes of bringing focus and attention to local businesses.
“When you think Black Friday, you think of the big box stores like Walmart and Target,” said Laura Raymer, director of operations and member engagement for the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Small Business Saturday is a national effort to drive shoppers to shop at local businesses across the United States.”
With a slogan of “Shop Local,” this Saturday’s event will help promote that exact idea and bring some of the sales dollars back into the community.
“We want to work with the small businesses in the area,” Raymer said. “These businesses are the life blood of the community. We sometimes just think it’s the businesses that are downtown, but it is the small businesses in Maple Valley and all around.”
During Saturday’s event, the chamber will sponsor a Small Business Saturday Passport. Shoppers are asked to visit a participating retailer, pick up a passport and register to earn special bonus points at each store.
“Shoppers can go to any location, pick up a passport and get different stickers or stamps on it,” said Raymer. “As they go to different places and get different stamps, they will receive discounts on different things and maybe even receive a cup of hot chocolate. Saturday will offer a lot of different opportunities.”
In addition to helping the business owner to grow, shopping locally offers advantages to the community as well.
“The money stays locally and it builds itself in the community,” Raymer said. “It comes back to the individual business owner in the form of revenue. The taxes are used for roads and the infrastructure. It allows companies to grow and offer more jobs which will help the community as well.”
For many local retailers, shopping locally is key to their success and the difference between staying open and eventually closing their doors.
“Small Business Saturday is very important to the community,” said Kristen White, the owner of White Weddings. “I think people are beginning to turn around and shop at small businesses more.”
Following Small Business Saturday, the chamber will also host the Downtown Christmas Open House on Dec. 2.
According to Raymer, the event is designed to bring shoppers into the historic downtown area where they can enjoy tons of specials and lots of opportunities for sales and activities.
In addition, shoppers can participate in "Charming Christmas" with a chance to get a unique Farmington Christmas charm bracelet.
“At the first business, participants will get the bracelet,” Raymer said. “You will then go to other businesses and collect a charm. By the time you are done, you will have a distinctive Farmington holiday bracelet.”
Hot on the tail of the open house, the Krekeler Jewelers Christmas Parade will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5.
“The Christmas Open House really kicks off a whole week of Christmas activities,” Raymer said. “Just three days later, we will have the Krekeler Jewelers Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. followed immediately by the opening of Winter Wonderland at Long Memorial Hall after parade.”
According to Raymer, there will be a couple of new additions to parade night. Parade goers will be able to have their picture taken for free with a real reindeer and strolling characters singing favorite old time carols will also be out.
For more information for about any of the upcoming events, contact the chamber at 756-3615.