Enticing holiday shoppers to support small businesses
By Mason Watkins
PADUCAH, KY -
A local city is launching a new campaign designed to help small businesses draw more holiday shoppers. "This is a great way to invite them down, show them what we've got, and help them do all their Christmas shopping," said small business owner Susan K. Edwards.
At the end of the month, Paducah's Main Street program, community partners, and volunteers will turn downtown into a page out of a Charles Dickens book. Carolers, characters in costume, and even Santa and Mrs. Claus are just a few attractions. The changes are meant to entice you to shop downtown where small businesses will be offering discounts and deals. The campaign is an attempt to strengthen the local economy at the peak of the holiday shopping season.
Downtown Paducah is decked out in red white and blue for Veterans Day, but there's a makeover in the works for Small Business Saturday. Edwards said, "We're looking forward to it." She owns Wildhair Studios' Rock Shop Dickens of a Christmas means marketing over the holidays doesn't have to be hard. She said, "Most of us are small, individual business owners. A lot of us don't have the resources to do a lot of advertising. It's always so much better when we can cross-promote and have some organization to it."
"This year, we wanted to make it special," said Melinda Winchester. She's Paducah's Main Street manager and has been working on the event since August. She said helping small businesses stay open helps everyone."It's just gonna be a good day for the family. I think it makes the community aware of our businesses down here. It will help create more economic growth," she said.
"Shopping local is a critical part of keeping your downtown healthy," said Edwards. Using Dickens is a fun, family friendly way to double down on retail sales during the height of the season for shopping. Edwards said ,"I'm hopeful that the Christmas season is as good as they're predicting, and I'm seeing it happen already."
Dickens of a Christmas will be in downtown Paducah on November 29th from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 in the evening. Advertisements are in local schools, hospitals, and businesses. They're also mailing out marketing materials, so they're hoping for a big turn out. The discounts at every store will be different, but the Main Street program has put together a holiday discount card featuring 13 shops in downtown and lowertown offering between 10 and 40 percent off.
Economists are predicting holiday sales to increase this year by between four and five percent.