Show support for Mar-Mac, PdC businesses through Santa Shops Small promotion

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Small businesses in Marquette, McGregor and Prairie du Chien are once again collaborating this holiday season for a special promotion called Santa Shops Small.

Now in its second year, the event will reward shoppers who make purchases at participating small businesses from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24. Simply pick up a Santa Shops Small punch card and get a punch for every $10 you spend at a business. Once your card is full, drop it at the business where you’d like the opportunity to win a prize. Each participating business will have a $25 prize to give away.

“You can fill as many cards as you want,” said Katie Ruff, owner of By the Spoonful in McGregor, who organized the event with Teresa Champion, owner of The Planted Tree Gallery in Prairie du Chien. “And you don’t have to leave them at the business you shopped at.”

Twenty-two businesses are participating this year, including several new ones. They range from retail shops and salons to bars and restaurants.

“Between the three communities, we really have a lot to offer,” noted Champion.

Ruff agreed: “You can find something for everybody on your list in our own backyard.”

Santa Shops Small will kick off on Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday—the Saturday after Thanksgiving when shoppers are encouraged to support local, small businesses rather than big box stores or online retailers. However, the promotion will give people an incentive to continue shopping small on all the days leading up to Christmas. That was something customers appreciated last year, said Champion.

“They like having it span the entire season, so you don’t have to do it all in a short amount of time,” she remarked.

It also brings back the nostalgic feeling of shopping for Christmas presents—strolling in a picturesque downtown setting with store windows festively decorated for the holidays. There’s no driving to the mall and battling crowds for deals, or browsing the internet and paying extra for shipping.

“People want a quality experience. They want to slow down and peruse,” Champion shared. “I think, if people step inside our businesses, they’ll find superior quality and prices that are many times better than chain stores.” 

Locally, shoppers often deal directly with business owners themselves, who Ruff noted are among the first to support community projects and fundraisers. They often know customers by name and can make informed gift suggestions. They know the stories behind the products they sell.

“Small businesses put extra care into the gift you’re going to give somebody. I can help customize it, to help you give the right gift,” she explained.

“There’s a lot more service connected to a small business,” added Champion. “You also make a connection with people. You lose that with social media and online ordering.”

Ruff and Champion hope residents will engage in Santa Shops Small to show their support for small businesses and give them a nice boost heading into the new year. With the punch cards that are turned in, Ruff said organizers can track participation.

“It’s fun to see how much money is spent locally, and it’s cool to hear people say they did their shopping in their own area,” she stated. “This is another event to make small businesses shine, and you can show that they’re important and that you want to keep them around.”

Santa Shops Small businesses include:

Marquette - Eagles Landing Winery

McGregor - Backwoods Bar and Grill, By the Spoonful, Free Spirit Boutique, The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, McGregor Mercantile, Navy Rose and Paper Moon

Prairie du Chien - Cafe Hope, Fort Crawford Museum, Front Porch Quilts, The Local Oven, Mississippi Meats, Mist-ified, Muddy Waters Pizza Pub, Nelson’s True Value, Panka Shoes, The Pickett Fence, The Planted Tree Gallery, Radio Shack, Rockweiler Appliance and TV and The Sweet Tooth

Learn more by checking out the full-page ad in this week's paper or visiting the “Santa Shops Small Holiday Giveaway” Facebook event.

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