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Small Business Saturday set for this weekend

Erica Smith, owner of The Gathered Earth, 131 W. Washington St., Marquette, looks at holiday items in the gift shop. Smith said there will be door prizes as well as a 10% discount on most items in the store on Small Business Saturday. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Want to make a difference in the local economy? Support Small Business Saturday, which is coming up this Saturday.

Tara Laase-McKinney, promotions and events coordinator for the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, said there will be an event-wide promotion of the day in the downtown area.

“Each individual business or restaurant will run their own sales or special, anything that they want,” said Laase-McKinney, who noted Small Business Saturday and Black Friday are the traditional kickoffs to the holiday shopping season. “We like to promote our downtown businesses in that way.”

She believes Small Business Saturday is a way to spur local business growth.

“For the local economy, it’s a nice reminder to people who are out there starting their shopping for the holidays that, ‘Hey, while you’re spending your money for your holiday shopping, keep local in mind,'” Laase-McKinney said.

She stressed that roughly two-thirds of every dollar spent locally will stay in the community.

“So, you’re supporting your friends, your neighbors — and you’re helping to keep a really vibrant local economy and community going by keeping some of those dollars local,” Laase-McKinney said.

American Express in 2010 created Small Business Saturday, to be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the day sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to encourage people to support small business during the holidays. Small Business Saturday also is known as the Shop Small movement.

“We just really like to encourage people to shop local and to remember downtown businesses,” Laase-McKinney said.

Munising is involved with Small Business Saturday as well.

“Our office has been doing a promotion now for nine years called Rekindle Grand Giveaway and is held between Thanksgiving through the week before Christmas,” said Katherine Reynolds, executive director of the Great Munising Bay Partnership/Alger County Chamber of Commerce and Munising Downtown Development Authority, in an email. “For every $50 spent in Alger County, participants bring their receipts by our office and enter for prizes that are donated by local Alger County businesses.”

Last year, over $5,000 in prizes were given away, she said, with receipts to date since the promotion was started nine years ago totaling $1.96 million.

“This very popular campaign that is held during those times and over the Small Business Saturday weekend encourages and sometimes rewards people for shopping local,” Reynolds said. “It’s exciting to see the large participation we have each year and even more rewarding is the generosity of the businesses that donate all of the prizes. Without the local business contributions, we couldn’t make this promotion the success that it has been.”

People can return their receipts from any Alger County business to the chamber office, 129 E. Munising Ave., or Grand Marais Outfitters to enter.

The rules allow one entry per $50 worth of Alger County receipts; receipts with the dates Dec. 5-6 will be worth double. People can enter often for daily drawings.

This year, the grand prize is an Ariens Deluxe 24-inch snowblower. People can also win an LG UHD 50-inch TV, a three-month pass to Anytime Fitness, various gift cards and so on.

A main event, just called Rekindle the Spirit, will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 in downtown Munising. Kids and families may take photographs with Santa and other holiday characters. There also will be hot cocoa, music, wagon rides and other activities. Local businesses participate by staying open later and sometimes offering sales.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.