Communities promoting local shopping options for holidays

Shoppers leave Fox and Feather in downtown Tipp City during the annual Yuletide Winter's Gathering activities. Business supporters throughout the region are encouraging shopping local to assist businesses that have had a tough year thanks to COVID-19.
Shoppers leave Fox and Feather in downtown Tipp City during the annual Yuletide Winter's Gathering activities. Business supporters throughout the region are encouraging shopping local to assist businesses that have had a tough year thanks to COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the holiday season, promoters of local shopping areas are encouraging people to support the businesses more than ever.

In Troy, a Keep the Cheer Here promotion coordinated by the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce will run through Christmas with events such as Spread the Cheer and Shop Small Saturday.

“Local businesses were shut down unexpectedly this year due to COVID and many haven’t fully recovered,” said Kathi Roetter, Troy chamber executive director. “We want to send the reminder that we want to support the local businesses that support us throughout the year by sponsoring sports team and donating to fundraisers.”

Shop owners will be working hard to keep patrons safe, Roetter said. The Spread the Cheer event will involve shops and restaurants offering daily discounts Nov. 19-21. More information and a list of participating businesses can be found at troyohiochamber.com.

“As part of the campaign, we are encouraging everyone to shop early and shop safe.  Shopping safe includes social distancing and wearing a mask.  Some stores are limiting the number of customers in the store at one time,” Roetter said.  “And most importantly, if you feel sick, stay home. Many of our local businesses are offering online ordering, curbside pickup and event delivery for those that are sick or those that prefer not to go into a crowded store.”

Down the road a short distance, Tipp City merchants kicked off the holidays with their annual Winter’s Yuletide Gathering from Nov. 10 through Nov. 15.

This year’s gathering was extended a few days. “We all agreed it was important to keep our events going because our merchants depend on them and so does our community. Everyone looks forward to the holiday traditions and we wanted to keep the spirit alive for those who need it and look forward to it each year,” said Kim Bulgin, executive director, Downtown Tipp City Partnership.

Holiday shopping continues in Tipp City, where the annual tree lighting event is planned for 6 p.m. Dec. 4.

“We are excited to bring the holiday cheer to Tipp City this year. People need it now more than ever. We are here to lift their spirits,” Bulgin said.

The Northmont Area Chamber of Commerce is  working in a couple of way to promote the businesses in its area, said Angie Clifford, the chamber executive director.

“We are utilizing social media to the many Northmont area pages to make sure members of the community know what is in their own backyard. We are also working closely with the cities that make up the Northmont community,” Clifford said.

As an example of efforts, she pointed to the city of Clayton, where videos are being filmed highlighting the small businesses with the chamber helping promote the videos.

To ensure consumers feel safe, businesses are working extra hard to make sure surfaces are cleaned, staff members are wearing masks and physical distancing is encouraged, said Lorna Swisher, executive director, Mainstreet Piqua.

“Holiday shopping is going to very different this year and consumers will want to buy something if they like it,” Swisher said. “The pandemic has upended many supply chains so if you see it and like it – buy it.  It may not be possible for the business to reorder something that caught your eye.”

A holiday open house will be held in Piqua the weekend of Nov. 20 and 21. One activity will be a “win the window” contest in which shoppers who visit 10 of the 12 participating businesses will win a window filled with items of at least $25 value donated by the businesses.

“Smaller businesses have had a hard go of it this year and they will never recover the revenue they lost during the almost two- month shut down. Support local!” Swisher said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

In Other News