Main Street Skowhegan has partnered with a handful of local businesses to create #ShopSmall Week, an event that offers shoppers incentives for supporting small businesses in the area.
From Saturday, Nov. 28 to Dec. 5, shoppers can receive a variety of discounts from the 49 participating shops and restaurants in the Skowhegan area.
Every time a shopper makes a purchase at a business, they can fill out a raffle ticket for a drawing of two $100 gift cards and two $50 gift cards. Raffle winners will be selected at the end of the week, and the gift cards can be used at any local business the winners choose.
#ShopSmall Week is an extension of the promotional event that Main Street Skowhegan typically does for Small Business Saturday, according to Executive Director Kristina Cannon.
“We started the Passport to Savings program for Small Business Saturday, but it was only a one day thing,” Cannon said during a phone interview Friday. “But this year, because of the pandemic, and because it’s super important that we’re supporting our local businesses more than ever, I thought it was important for us to spread it out to a full week.”
Through the Passport to Savings program, shoppers are given a booklet that lists all participating businesses and discounts.
Main Street Skowhegan is a nonprofit organization whose aim is to revitalize and develop the town’s economy.
Among the participating businesses is Hight Family of Dealerships, which is also one of the sponsors of the event.
“Small business is the back bone of the U.S. economy,” Sam Hight said. “Shopping small is integrally important to my family, because we’ve been a small business in central Maine for 110 years. So we’ve done our best to support the community that has supported us for so long.”
Shoppers who purchase a new or used vehicle at one of the three Hight dealerships will receive $100 to spend at a locally owned Skowhegan area business.
“For every dollar spent at a locally owned business, 67 cents stays local,” Hight said. “So it (the event) is passing along the importance of doing business locally.”
The event’s other sponsors, Key Appliance, Russakoff Jewelers, Holland’s Variety Drug and Computer Improvements are also offering deals throughout the week.
“As small business, we’ve been in town for 42 years, and our commitment to the community is very important,” said Michaela “Kala” Murphy, owner of Fabric Garden in Madison. “We like to support the community, but also enjoy the community’s support of us.”
For Shop Small Week, shoppers can get 10% off all bolted fabric at Fabric Garden.
Murphy said the store is also running sales on sewing machines that will extend past this week.
Small Business Saturday was launched as a campaign by American Express in the midst of the 2010 economic recession. The goal was to encourage people to shop local for the holiday season.
“When you shop local, you’re supporting not only the people who own the business and the people who work for them, but the money goes back into the local economy,” Cannon said. “So it’s really just a nice way of supporting yourself when you shop local.”
Cannon said that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed an emphasis on the importance of shopping local.
“I know a lot of businesses have seen sales drop due to the pandemic, so this is really the time to get out and support them,” Cannon said.
A full list of participating businesses and deals can be found at mainstreetskowhegan.org